New vaccine against pneumonia to save lives

London: A new vaccine against pneumonia is being introduced in Africa and some other countries across the world.

The vaccine could save more than half a million lives a year globally, reports the BBC.

The Gavi Alliance, a global health partnership of public and private sectors for immunisation, says 19 countries will get the jab at first.

Gavi said it needs an extra 500m pounds (800m dollars) annually for the next five years to meet a shortfall in immunisation for existing and new vaccines.

The pneumococcal vaccine costs 2.20 pounds (3.50 dollars) in Africa compared to 38 pounds in Europe as a result of a deal between Gavi and two manufacturers: Pfizer and GSK. The roll-out in the developing world comes just a year after the same vaccine was introduced in the United States.

GSK said the discounted price is only fractionally above the cost of production. A spokesman said the vaccine takes a year to produce and is the most technically sophisticated of all its vaccines.