Pentavalent vaccine support

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By the end of 2013, with GAVI support, pentavalent vaccine will have reached a projected 200 million children in 72 developing countries

Video: DPR Korea introduces pentavalent vaccine

Expanded Coverage

Since GAVI first launched the five-in-one pentavalent vaccine in Guyana in 2001, it has helped introduce it to 70 of the 73 GAVI-eligible countries, with the aim of reaching all 73 by the end of 2014. 

The vaccine, administered in a three-dose schedule, offers protection against five diseases: diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP), hepatitis B, Haemophilius influenzae type b

By February 2013 this amounted to a total of 550 million doses shipped. Following its replenishment meeting in London June 2011 GAVI is now committed to immunising a further 224 million children with pentavalent vaccine by 2015.


This represents an essential step towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal 4 of reducing under-five mortality rate by two thirds by 2015. 

By 2020 GAVI aims to extend this further by immunising more than 550 million children, increasing coverage to 85 per cent.

Increasing coverage while decreasing the number of shots

Nurse prepares pentavalent vaccine Sierra Leone

Pentavalent combines five different vaccines in a single vial to protect against five diseases: diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DTP), hepatitis B (hepB) and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). 

A successor to the DTP vaccine, pentavalent vaccine was introduced to boost coverage of hepB and Hib vaccines by including them as part of routine immunisation.


Hib is a deadly bacterium which causes meningitis and pneumonia. It is considered the third biggest cause of vaccine-preventable death in children aged under five. It is estimated that there are three million cases of serious Hib infection annually, of which 400,000 result in childhood death.

The majority of survivors suffer paralysis, deafness, mental retardation and learning disabilities. 

In developing countries, where the vast majority of Hib deaths occur, it accounts for a larger number of deaths than meningitis and leaves up to 35 per cent of survivors with disabilities. 

For more information, visit the GAVI website's Hib section>>

Hepatitis B

HepB is a viral infection that is more than 50 times more infectious than HIV and which claims 600,000 lives every year, through chronic or acute live infections. 

Babies and young children are most at risk from hepB, with the virus often passing from mother to child before or shortly after birth, and putting victims at high risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer in later life. 

An estimated two billion people alive today are believed to have been infected with hepB, while 350 million people worldwide are chronically infected. 

For more information, visit the GAVI website's hepB section>>

Three shots not nine

Offering hepB and Hib vaccines as part of a five-in-one conjugate pentavalent vaccine doesn’t just improve coverage, it also means that just three shots are needed instead of the usual nine to provide the same cover from separate vaccines (three each for DTP, hepB and Hib vaccines). 

Other advantages include:

  • widespread protection is achieved quickly and safely;
  • shipping costs are lower;
  • with fewer syringes to dispose of, environmental impact is reduced;
  • fewer injections mean less distress for children and parents.

Ensuring secure and sustainable supplies of vaccines at affordable prices

Penta Haiti 2012

Routine Immunisation

GAVI has always offered support for diphtheria-tetanus, pertussis (DTP), hepatitis B (hepB) and Haemophilius influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines. But, to address the historical low uptake of Hib in many countries, GAVI began also offering pentavalent vaccine in 2001. 

By including it as part of routine immunisation, along with hepB, the goal was to increase coverage. As this proved to work, in 2012 GAVI made the decision to only provide hepB and Hib to new programmes as part of a five-in-one pentavalent vaccine.

Market Shaping

Since first introducing pentavalent vaccine in 2001, GAVI has been proactive in trying to help foster a healthy and competitive pentavalent market.

Through its innovative public-private partnership model GAVI has used its market shaping procurement strategy to ensure secure and sustainable supplies of affordable vaccines.

Price Reductions

Over the course of a decade GAVI and its partners have negotiated significant reductions in the price of pentavalent vaccines.

Using its significant buying power GAVI has been able to provide incentives to manufacturers to lower their prices while encouraging new suppliers to enter the market, including those from developing countries.

As a result, a vaccine that until recently cost more than US$ 30 per dose in the US public market, GAVI can now procure for just $1.19 a dose.

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