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  1. 1
    Peer Reviewed

    Korea to lead the way in vaccinating the world.

    Ivker R

    Lancet. 1996 Nov 9; 348(9037):1305.

    Having beaten Thailand and China, Korea will become home to the new International Vaccine Institute (IVI), according to announcements made on October 28 at the UN. The IVI, which is expected to be built and operational by 1999, will be "dedicated to improving availability and use of high-quality vaccines in developing countries." Frank Hartvelt, director in charge of health programs at the UN, explained that the institute in Seoul will function in two ways. As a training center, it will provide ongoing education for immunization and public health officials from developing countries. The IVI will also dispatch its own experts to provide on-site training. Hartvelt hoped that quality control of vaccines as well as the introduction of some vaccines now seen only in wealthier countries (such as hepatitis B and influenza) would be some of the benefits of the project. Of additional interest were the behind-the-scenes international politics associated with the IVI. Officials in New York explained that Asia was chosen as the home of the institute because of the sheer number of children on that continent in need of immunization. Nonetheless, disappointment was heard from some members of the African delegations. Once Asia had got the nod, intense lobbying by several countries began. South Korea is believed to have been more than willing to come up with the US$40 million in start-up money and 30% of annual costs because of its longstanding gratitude to the UN, going all the way back to the Korean War. In return, Seoul was eager to play host (for the first time) to an international organization. If deemed successful, expansion of the IVI's role to Central and South America has already been discussed. (full text)
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