International donors have promised more than four billion dollars to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. That group, known as the GAVI Alliance, held a pledging conference in June in London. GAVI raised six hundred million dollars more than its goal. Britain led the donations with 1.3 billion dollars in new pledges through twenty-fifteen. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also promised one billion more over the next five years.Norway promised more than six hundred seventy million dollars. The United States made four hundred fifty million dollars in new pledges. GAVI says a record fifty countries requested money for vaccines during its latest application period. Earlier, vaccine makers agreed to cut prices for developing countries. These lower prices, combined with the money raised, could protect an extra two hundred fifty million children. GAVI spokesman Jeffrey Rowland says the goal over the next five years, by twenty-fifteen, is to save an additional four million lives. He says this will be done "purely by providing basic vaccines against diseases that are ... almost non-existent in rich countries, as well as providing new vaccines against pneumonia, diarrheal diseases and then hopefully HPV and some other vaccine-preventable diseases." HPV is the human papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer. The disease kills two hundred thousand women a year, mostly in developing countries. The Merck company has agreed to offer GAVI the HPV vaccine at five dollars a dose -- two-thirds less than the current price. Also, two India-based companies, Serum Institute and Panacea Biotec, will reduce prices on vaccines against five diseases. These are diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type b.Other companies including GlaxoSmithKline and Merck will lower prices for rotavirus vaccines. That virus causes diarrhea that kills about half a million children a year. Mr. Rowland says: "Almost all children in the world get rotavirus. The thing is that in the United States or in Europe children usually have good access to medical care ... Children in poor countries, on the other hand, usually do not."A rotavirus vaccine in the United States can cost as much as fifty dollars. Under the new plan, this same vaccine could cost about two and a half dollars in a developing country. The GAVI Alliance says almost two million children a year die from diseases that vaccines can prevent.
For VOA Special English, I'm Alex Villarreal.