GlaxoSmithKlineWorld's largest pneumococcal mass vaccination programme is expected to protect up to 4.8 million children in Pakistan from pneumococcal disease. Pakistan is the first GAVI eligible country in south Asia to introduce pneumococcal vaccines.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) welcomes today's announcement from the GAVI Alliance that its pneumococcal vaccine, SynflorixTM, is to be introduced into the national immunisation programme in Pakistan.

Pakistan will be the first country in south Asia to receive pneumococcal vaccines in the Expanded Programme of Immunization. The introduction of Synflorix into the programme was made possible through the innovative financing mechanism known as the Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which is designed to bring heavily discounted vaccines to children living in the world’s poorest countries.

This is the largest universal mass vaccination programme against pneumococcal disease worldwide and is expected to help protect 4.8 million children each year. Currently 27,000 children die from pneumococcal diseases each year in Pakistan [1]. Pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of pneumonia, which is the world's number one killer of children under five years of age [2].

Christophe Weber, President and General Manager, GSK Vaccines said: "We congratulate Pakistan on the introduction of life-saving pneumococcal vaccines for children, which is possible with funding from the GAVI Alliance. Through our research and our work to accelerate access to innovative vaccines, GSK continues to play an important role in helping protect millions of children from infectious disease. Increased vaccination means more children will be able to live healthy lives."

At an event held today in Islamabad, government officials were joined by representatives of the GAVI Alliance, UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO) and GSK to launch the programme. Starting this month, millions of children will be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.

Pneumococcal vaccines are expected to reach more than 50 GAVI-supported countries by 2015. Kenya was the first GAVI-eligible country to introduce Synflorix, followed by Ethiopia in 2011. Later this year, Synflorix will be rolled out in Madagascar and Zambia under the AMC framework.

GSK has been a long-standing partner with GAVI, and continues to supply more than 70% of its total vaccine volumes to developing countries. Synflorix has been provided to GAVI through the AMC at a 90% discount.

GSK will provide a minimum of 480 million doses of Synflorix to GAVI to help expand immunisation programmes against pneumococcal disease to 73 developing countries by 2023. By 2023, Synflorix may help to protect up to 160 million children in developing countries against pneumococcal disease.

About Synflorix

  • Synflorix helps protect against diseases due to pneumococcus bacteria. It contains 10 serotypes, three of which - 1, 5, and 14 - were required to be included in the vaccine for the AMC due to the high burden of invasive pneumococcal diseases caused by these serotypes in the developing world.
  • It is the most technically sophisticated of GSK's vaccines and each dose takes a year to make. Each individual strain is grown and developed separately – it is only at the very end of the process that they are brought together as one vaccine.
  • GSK has invested more than US $400 million in a dedicated manufacturing plant in Singapore that will support growing demand for this vaccine in the coming years.
  • Synflorix was the first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine eligible under the AMC to receive WHO 'prequalification'.
  • Since Synflorix was launched, nearly 100 million doses have been distributed worldwide.
  • Synflorix has been registered in 117 countries, made available to help protect children in over 90 countries, and has been designated as the vaccine of choice in over 30 regional and national immunisation programmes around the world, including Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
  • Synflorix has been studied in 33 completed clinical trials to date.

About pneumococcal disease

  • Pneumococcal disease is a global health issue. Each year, Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) infections are estimated to kill up to half a million children under five years of age, mostly in developing countries [3].
  • Pneumococcal bacteria can cause life-threatening diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia and bacteraemia [4].
  • S. pneumoniae can also cause less severe, but considerably more common diseases of the respiratory tract such as middle ear infections, sinusitis and bronchitis [3].
  • One child dies of pneumococcal disease every 40 seconds [4],[5] and the majority of these live in the poorest countries.

GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

1. O'Brien, et al. Lancet 2009; 374:893-902
2. GAVI Alliance. Pneumococcal Vaccine Support - 'The Issue.' Available at: Last accessed 18 September 2012
3. W orld Health Organisation. Weekly epidemiological record 2012; 87:129-144
4. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Pneumococcal Diseases. Available at: Last accessed 12 September 2012
5. World Health Organization. Estimated Hib and pneumococcal deaths for children under 5 years of age. Last accessed 12 September 2012