Dr. John Clemens, Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), has been elected to the Board of the GAVI Alliance, a world´s leading public-private partnership dedicated to increasing children´s access to vaccines in poor countries. The IVI is devoted exclusively to the development and introduction of new vaccines for the world´s poor.
Dr. Clemens will serve on the GAVI Alliance Board for three years from Jan 2007. On the Board, he will represent the world´s research and technical institutes involved with research and development of vaccines for developing countries.
The Board also includes representatives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, The World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Board meets twice a year to set policies, oversees programs, and shapes the strategic vision and direction for the Alliance, which works to ensure the poorest countries provide essential vaccines to all of their children.
In the past five years, GAVI has been instrumental in the introduction of new vaccines, notably against hepatitis B and Haemophilis influenza type B, which causes meningitis and pneumonia. It provides multi-year grants to more than 70 of the world´s poorest countries, helping them improve their national immunization programs. It is estimated that over 1.7 million childhood deaths will have been prevented as a result of support by GAVI up to the end of 2005.
Dr. Clemens is an international expert on vaccine evaluation, who has devoted his entire career to conducting research on vaccines for use in developing countries. He began his first term of office as IVI´s first Director General in 1999, and was reappointed in 2004. Previously, he held senior positions at the United States National Institutes of Health. He also has been a long-term advisor to WHO.
During the past seven years, Dr. Clemens has led the dynamic growth of the IVI, serving as its first Director General. Under his leadership, the IVI has grown into a global center of vaccine science with 120 staff from 18 countries and an annual budget of around $20 million. The Institute now conducts research in more than 20 countries worldwide to accelerate the development and introduction of life-saving vaccines.
"My election as a GAVI Board member attests to the recognition of the important roles and mission of the IVI in global efforts to deploy vaccines to reduce death and disability among the world´s poorest children," he remarked.
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI), based in Seoul, Korea, is the world´s only international organization devoted exclusively to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the world´s poorest people, especially children in developing countries. Established at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme, the IVI operates under a treaty signed by 38 countries and the World Health Organization, and conducts research in more than 20 countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The GAVI Alliance
The GAVI Alliance (formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) is a public-private partnership focused on increasing children´s access to vaccines in poor countries. Partners include the GAVI Fund, national governments, UNICEF, WHO, The World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the vaccine industry, public health institutions and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The GAVI Fund provides resources for the Alliance programs and has over $3 billion in commitments over the next ten years.