An interview with Seth Berkley
"Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has been very successful in having children immunized. As announced a few months ago in Davos, Gavi has im- munized 500 million children—that’s half a billion children—prevented more than seven million deaths, and facilitated more than 250 new vaccine launches across the poorest countries in the world. So this is a successful partnership that has really gone to scale. We’ve seen vaccine prices come down by 90 to 95 percent and have increased the numbers of vaccine suppliers, creating a more competitive marketplace, which is critical to sustain these vaccination programs. What are the challenges? The main challenge for me is equity. Our goal should be to have every child in the world fully immunized. Yet, overall we know that 84 percent of the world’s kids receive DPT 3 vaccination [the third and final dose in DPT, a series of immunizations against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis] that we use as a measurement of how well the immunization system is working. "
Seth Berkley is the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which focuses on improving access to vaccines in developing countries. Dr. Berkley joined Gavi in 2011, in a period of rapid acceleration. Now, with more than half a billion children immunized, he is leading Gavi’s efforts to reach a further 300 million children by 2020 and build sustainability into country immunization programs. Prior to Gavi, Dr. Berkley, an epidemiologist, spearheaded the development of HIV vaccines as founder and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).