Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance: Advancing Immunization Initiatives Around The Globe

Doctor carries vaccines to vaccinate children in need in Ethiopia

This Story of Impact is part of our United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) feature series. Download our latest report on the SDG GIving Landscape.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 SDGs are integrated—they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

These six Stories of Impact feature the top three most funded and bottom three least funded SDGs by CAF America donors. More information can be found in our SDG Gaving Landscape Report released in January 2024.

Only four days after Yemi Adetumobi gave birth to her daughter in Akure, Nigeria, she noticed her child’s chest heaving uncontrollably. She brought her to the Ondo State Specialist Hospital, where doctors diagnosed a case of severe pneumonia. “After two days, my daughter got better, and I was happy. But soon, I worried about her, because at times, I saw my daughter gasping, meaning she still had breathing problems,” Adetumobi recalled.

Thankfully, when the little girl turned nine months old, she received a measure of protection: the booster dose of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV). Adetumobi remembers the immense relief she felt when her daughter was able to receive the rare vaccine, “Thank God for the PCV vaccine. My daughter overcame the pneumonia.”

Children in numerous countries face limited access to vaccines, including PCV immunization and other life-saving vaccines, due to inequitable healthcare access. In 2014, nearly 480 children per 100,000 in Nigeria died of pneumonia or other lower respiratory infections. Lack of immunizations for pneumonia and other diseases leads to many untimely deaths of children and broken hearts of their parents and families.

Thanks to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, that’s changing.

While access to healthcare remains unequal on a country-to-country basis, Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance shines a beacon of hope. A global health partnership based in Geneva, Switzerland, Gavi’s mission is to increase access to vaccines in low-income countries, aligning with SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing. They prevent diseases and save lives by immunizing millions of children per year and by providing funding and support for healthcare systems around the world. Following Gavi’s pneumococcal vaccine roll-out, there was a notable decrease in pneumonia cases in Nigeria and other African nations, providing relief to mothers like Yemi who had witnessed their children facing severe illness from preventable diseases.

“The pandemic has tested the Alliance and the progress made on immunization as never before, and has left us facing a polycrisis of conflict, climate change, and economic disruption. But the pandemic also reminded us of some vital truths: that vaccines are essential to protect health and wealth; and that unless everyone is protected, no one is safe. The pandemic led to a drop in routine immunization coverage–although it is now recovering–and to an increase in the number of children who have received no vaccines. Missed vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to outbreaks of deadly, preventable diseases like measles and polio. Catching up must be a priority to make sure that every child has access to the vaccines they need to not only survive but thrive.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gavi was instrumental in helping underserved populations access COVID vaccinations through the COVAX program. CAF America donors contributed over $24.67 million to Gavi’s COVID relief efforts, playing an important role in helping connect people to the COVID-19 vaccine at a critical time. In addition to these COVAX grants, CAF America helped facilitate over $23.29 million in donations to Gavi from 2017 to 2023, increasing funding for routine immunizations against rotavirus in Burkina Faso as well as to the pentavalent vaccine program in Benin (pentavalent immunizations patients against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and Hib disease). Contributions also aided immunization programs for pentavalent, pneumococcal, rotavirus, and measles in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Niger, and Mauritania.

To continue supporting global good health and well-being, Gavi’s future strategy for 2021–2025 is centered on immunizing 300 million children globally with routine vaccines. This initiative aims to prevent 7–8 million deaths by reaching and protecting children who have not received any vaccines (zero-dose children) in underserved communities. In its dedication to ensure equitable access to life-saving vaccines for children in the world’s poorest countries, Gavi fosters sustainable immunization programs imperative to good health and well-being that positively impact both global health and socio-economic development.

Download the SDG Giving Landscape Report here, and learn more about the great work done by organizations we support by viewing our other Stories of Impact.

About the Author

  • Margot Cunningham

    Margot Cunningham serves as CAF America’s Officer of Marketing and Communications. Her responsibilities include planning, creating, and implementing marketing and communications strategies, with a focus on building awareness of our mission and engaging prospects and donors with long-form content and event opportunities.

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