HPV vaccine manufacturers commit to provide enough supply to immunize at least 84 million girls in Gavi countries
Geneva: Vaccine manufacturers MSD, GSK, Innovax, Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. (SII) and Walvax have pledged to ramp up human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine supply availability for Gavi-supported countries, ahead of tomorrow’s Global Vaccine Summit 2020. This commitment is part of an ongoing UNICEF-led tender that aims to enable Gavi to dramatically increase its reach from 50 million girls, as initially planned, to 84 million girls during the next five-year period, leading to the prevention of an estimated 1.4 million future deaths from cervical cancer.
“We are extremely grateful to MSD, GSK, Innovax, Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. and Walvax for these commitments, which should have a profound impact on women’s lives in the poorest countries of the world,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “HPV is one of the most impactful vaccines in the Gavi portfolio, and country demand is currently far in excess of supply. Today’s commitment has the potential to save more lives, and to take significant steps towards our common goal of a world free of cervical cancer.”
Gavi’s initial target to vaccinate 40 million girls between 2016 and 2020 was reduced to 14 million due to increasing global demand for, and limited supply of, HPV vaccine. For its 2021–2025 period, Gavi had initially forecasted that only 50 million girls would have access to the vaccine (out of the 84 million girls who could have been reached with unconstrained supply).
Currently, only two manufacturers, MSD and GSK, produce WHO-prequalified HPV vaccines. Several others are developing HPV vaccines – including Innovax (whose vaccine is currently under review for WHO prequalification), as well as Serum Institute of India and Walvax. UNICEF issued a tender in December 2019 for additional supply of quality-assured, WHO-prequalified vaccines to Gavi-supported countries and Gavi-transitioned countries for 2021 and beyond.
“This commitment is excellent news for millions of girls, as access to the HPV vaccine can make a difference between life and death” said Etleva Kadilli, Director of UNICEF’s supply and procurement headquarters. “Limited vaccine supply has been a great concern for UNICEF, as it often means that the most vulnerable populations are left behind. The increase in production and affordable pricing means that more countries will be able to make this life-saving investment and introduce HPV vaccines into their routine immunisation programmes.”
Cervical cancer is the second-most common form of cancer in women living in less-developed regions. Eighty-five percent of global cervical cancer cases occur in low-income countries (LICs) and middle-income countries (MICs), with sub-Saharan Africa and Asia accounting for the highest incidence rates. To date, Gavi has helped 30 countries introduce HPV vaccine demonstration programmes, and 19 have successfully introduced the vaccine nationally. Five of them, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia, carry among the 10 highest cervical cancer burdens in the world.
John Markels, President of MSD Vaccines: “We must work together to reduce the prevalence of HPV and strive for its elimination, as called for by the WHO – this is a top priority for MSD. Despite the complexity of manufacturing at massive scale and to the highest standard of quality, we remain committed to dramatically increasing supply to Gavi, through significant investments of capital and human resources. MSD is excited to announce that we will continue to be a major supplier of HPV vaccines to Gavi – contributing to the vaccination of 84 million girls from 2021–2025.”
Roger Connor, President of GSK Global Vaccines: “We know that cervical cancer disproportionately impacts women in lower-income countries and that HPV vaccines offer an opportunity later in their life course for adolescent girls to connect with the health system. We look forward to continuing to contribute to Gavi’s objective of reaching another 84 million girls with HPV vaccination in the next 5 years. Thanks to our work as partners in the Alliance, more countries can now protect women and girls, and safeguard their futures.”
Steven Gao, General Manager of Innovax: “Today, I have the privilege to share the good news that Innovax’s HPV vaccine prequalification dossier has formally been accepted for review by WHO. We are ready to contribute significant volumes to supply to Gavi starting in 2021. It would enable a continued rollout of the HPV vaccine and help protect more young girls to make the world free of cervical cancer.”
Adar C. Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd.: “SII is pleased to announce that a WHO-prequalified 4-valent vaccine should be available for supply starting in 2022, at a substantially lower price than what is available today – with an annual production capacity of 50 million doses, scaling up to 100 million doses by 2024.”
Yunchun Li, Chairman of Walvax: “As one of the leading Chinese vaccine manufacturers, Walvax, with the purpose of ‘Let Everyone Live a Healthy Life,’ is dedicated to sustainable supply of high-quality vaccines at an affordable price. So far, Walvax expects to get approved by Chinese regulatory authorities in 2021, followed by an application to WHO for prequalification. We commit that over half of the production capacity of the HPV vaccine will be allocated to Gavi at an affordable price after prequalification.”
Tomorrow, the UK Government will host the Global Vaccine Summit 2020, Gavi’s third investment conference to raise at least US$ 7.4 billion in additional resources for the next five years to protect the next generation with vaccines, reduce disease inequality and create a healthier, safer and more prosperous world.
Representatives from over 50 countries, including over 25 heads of state, will participate in this virtual event, which will be livestreamed on www.gavi.org. It will be a major opportunity for world leaders to reiterate their support for Gavi’s vision to immunise an additional 300 million children, saving up to 8 million lives by 2025.