Pinoy-led group lobbies for pneumonia vaccine price cut

NEW YORK – Advocacy organizations have come together to help save the lives of Filipino children who cannot afford the vaccine that treats pneumonia.

With more than 20,000 deaths a year, pneumonia is the leading cause of death in the Philippines  for children ages 1 to 5.

“We’re taking care of people around the world. Now it’s time to take our voice and action and take care of people in the homeland,” CEO of Next Day Better Ryan Letada said.

Next Day Better, a storytelling platform for diaspora communities, partnered with humanitarian-aid non-governmental organization Doctors Without Borders on it’s “A Fair Shot Campaign,” that has a mission to bring the price of the pneumonia vaccine down from $45 to $5.

Last week, Letada and volunteers from DWB delivered a crib with 2,500 flowers, which represents the daily number of children who die of pneumonia worldwide, to pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s headquarters.

The crib also contained 400,000 signatures of people who signed an online petition asking Pfizer to drop the price of the vaccine in developing countries.

Protesters said Pfizer makes a daily profit of $17 million on pneumonia vaccines alone.

“Pfizer surprisingly accepted the crib and the petition and took it into their headquarters,” vaccines policy advisor for DWB Kate Elder said. “We have had feedback from Pzifer that many employees have been asking about it and it really impacted them.”

DWB spokesman Francois Servranckx recognizes the need of strong voices in the campaign.

“It became evident pretty soon after the launch of this campaign that we need a strong call to action by using people’s voice to put pressure on the companies.”

In an email to ABS-CBN News, Pfizer said “the company provides a vaccine PCV13 at a deeply discounted non-commercial price of $3.30 per dose and have pledged to reduce the price to $3.10 per dose for the multi-dose vial, or $9.30 per child for a 3-dose round of vaccination.”

Pfizer also said that they have supplied 200 million doses to the world’s poorest countries and have committed to provide 3 to 4 billion dose in total by 2024.

“I hope that there are more to come, that they take this seriously and they understand us as the healthcare professionals that actually use these drugs and products made by Pfizer, that they value our voice and actually drop the price of pneumonia vaccinations,” Letada said.

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