Universal access to immunization has been an elusive goal for many decades. A desire to overcome the obstacles to this goal fuels the GAVI Alliance, founded in 2000 with the aim of saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing access to immunization in developing countries.
Dr. Seth Berkley
“During the past decade, new vaccines have been rolled out in developing nations within a year of their licensure in the industrialized world—a far cry from past delays of 15 years or more,” says Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance. Nevertheless, he notes, a child dies of a vaccine-preventable disease every 20 seconds, and 1 in every 5 children remains unimmunized.
Berkley will describe the challenges and successes of bringing lifesaving vaccines to people who live in the poorest countries during the 2012 John Ring LaMontagne Memorial Lecture sponsored by NIAID. Titled “Getting the Miracle of Vaccines to Those Who Most Need Them,” the lecture will take place in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10, on Tuesday, May 22 at 2 p.m.
A physician and epidemiologist, Berkley has devoted his career to improving international public health primarily through vaccines. Before joining the GAVI Alliance in 2011, Berkley was the founding president and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, a non-governmental organization dedicated to aggressively pursuing novel approaches to AIDS vaccine development.
“Overcoming the obstacles to universal access to immunization will require the political will to make vaccines a right for every child, innovations in vaccine delivery and support from finance ministries to prioritize vaccines in national budgets,” he says.
The lecture honors contributions to NIH and public health made by LaMontagne during his 30-year career with NIAID. He earned international recognition for his distinguished leadership and accomplishments in fighting emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.