March 1, 2008

Hib Vaccination Increasing in Low-income Countries

The percentage of the world’s children who have been fully immunized against Haemophilus influenzae has increased substantially in the last several years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In 1999, only 8 percent of the birth cohort received all three doses of the Hib vaccine. In 2006, that figure grew to 22 percent of the birth cohort. Those figures are expected to grow further as 23 additional countries are expected to introduce the vaccine in 2008.

The increase is an outgrowth of recent efforts by the public-private partnership the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI). GAVI helps supply vaccines in countries with gross national incomes under $1,000 per capita.

GAVI started an initiative 2005 to accelerate adoption of Hib vaccine in GAVI-eligible countries. In 2004, 13 eligible countries were using the vaccine. By 2007 the figure had increased to 47. At least eight more applications are expected this year.

Success with the Hib vaccine suggests similar strategies may be effective to speed up introduction of new vaccines such as the rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines.

The results appear in the Feb. 15 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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