Via The Financial Express: More than 1.5 mn children to be immunised against Japanese encephalitis in Lao PDR with GAVI support. Excerpt:
Lao PDR became the first country to use support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to protect its children from Japanese encephalitis. The first doses of the vaccine to be funded by Gavi were given to children at an event held in the country’s capital, Vientiane.
Support from the Vaccine Alliance will initially enable Lao PDR to complete a nationwide campaign against the disease, which is spread by mosquitoes and can result in severe disability and death, by reaching more than 1.5 million children over one and under 15 years of age.
From 2016, the country will use national funding to introduce the JE vaccine into its routine immunisation schedule. This means that all children born in Lao PDR will receive the vaccine at nine months old alongside other childhood vaccines.
Lao PDR’s JE campaign marks the first time the Vaccine Alliance has provided funding to enable a country to use a Chinese-manufactured vaccine. This was made possible by the World Health Organization’s decision to pre-qualify the vaccine, produced by Chengdu Institute of Biological Products (CDIBP), in 2013, the first time a Chinese manufacturer had achieved this standard.
The first doses of Gavi-funded JE vaccine were given at an immunisation session held in Vientiane attended by Deputy Prime Minister of Lao PDR H.E Dr Phankham Viphavanh, Gavi deputy CEO Anuradha Gupta, WHO representative in Lao PDR, Dr Juliet Fleischl and UNICEF Representative in Lao PDR, Ms Hongwei Gao.
“Japanese encephalitis takes a terrible toll on its victims,” said Anuradha Gupta. “It has a devastating impact on families who are left helpless as their children often die or are left severely disabled and unable to care for themselves. It is encouraging to see that Lao PDR is taking positive steps to protect its children from the dreadful consequences of JE and I am pleased that Gavi is able to offer its support.”