Creating equal access to vaccines – an interview with Gavi CEO, Seth Berkley

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Gavi is a global vaccine alliance that brings together public and private partners with the aim of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children in some of the most resource-limited areas. In our latest interview we ask Seth Berkley, who has been CEO of Gavi since 2011, about new vaccines, the importance of collaboration and the challenges facing access to vaccinations.

First, could you introduce yourself and give a brief summary your career to date?

I’m a medical doctor who trained as an epidemiologist, specialzsing in infectious disease and global health. I worked for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (GA, USA) and for the Rockefeller Foundation (NY, USA), before founding the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the first vaccine development public-private partnership. I have been CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Geneva, Switzerland), since 2011.

You’re currently CEO of Gavi, what is Gavi and why do you think there is a need for this initiative?

Gavi was created to overcome a seemingly intractable problem: how to get new and initially expensive vaccines to those who need them in poor countries. One way Gavi solves this is through market shaping; we pool demand for vaccines from the world’s poorest countries, and then work with pharmaceutical companies to make those vaccine available at a price these countries can afford.

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