ABU DHABI, 10 December 2018 – Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, Founder of Serum Institute of India (SII) and Chairman of Poonawalla Group, has been given the first ever Vaccine Hero award by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
The Vaccine Hero award was inaugurated to celebrate global figures whose dedication to the Vaccine Alliance’s mission has played a key role in helping Gavi and its partners to protect hundreds of millions of children across the world
“Since Gavi’s inception Cyrus has been a steadfast supporter of Gavi’s mission,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “Under his leadership Serum has become the largest supplier of vaccines to the developing world, protecting hundreds of millions of children in the world’s poorest countries against killer diseases like measles, diphtheria and meningitis. Gavi simply would not have had the impact we’ve had without them. He is a worthy winner of this inaugural Vaccine Hero award.”
“I am truly humbled to receive this recognition for the humanitarian work that we have been doing at Serum Institute for the last five decades,” said Dr Cyrus Poonawalla. “it is recognition such as today’s that gives me and my team the strength to commit and continue the humanitarian work by making available immunobiologicals and vaccines at the most affordable prices to support the great efforts made by Gavi and other UN Agencies worldwide, especially now for much needed newer vaccines, such as Pneumonia, Rotavirus, Meningitis, HPV and Dengue.”
Dr Cyrus Poonawalla founded Serum Institute of India in 1966 and built it into the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, supplying more than one billion doses of vaccines per year to children in 170 countries around the world at affordable prices.
SII now supplies 40% of the vaccines funded by Gavi. Over the Alliance’s 2016-2020 strategic period, SII will provide more than half a billion doses for Gavi-supported vaccine programmes protecting children against nine diseases – measles, rubella, meningitis A, rotavirus and, through pentavalent vaccine, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, Haemophilus influenza type B and hepatitis B. So far SII has distributed more than 18 billion doses of different vaccines and an estimated 25 million lives have been saved because of these vaccines.
The award was presented at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi as part of Gavi’s mid-term review, a high-level conference celebrating Gavi’s progress and impact in the world’s poorest countries. By the end of 2018, Gavi will have contributed to the immunization of 700 million people and the prevention of more than 10 million future deaths. This has contributed to acceleration in the decline of global under-five mortality rates and brought wider impact beyond immunization.
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