Fortune bestows leadership award on Vaccine Alliance CEO Seth Berkley
Since its founding 20 years ago, the public-private partnership group Gavi, also known as the Vaccine Alliance, has helped vaccinate more than 760 million children across the developing world. By the organization’s count, the immunizations have prevented more than 13 million needless deaths.
Fortune honored Dr. Seth Berkley, Gavi’s CEO since 2011, with a leadership award at its Brainstorm Health virtual conference on Wednesday. In bestowing the award, Fortune editor-in-chief Clifton Leaf described Gavi as “arguably the most productive multilateral health collaboration in history.”
“Seth is, in every sense of the word, a lifesaver—a physician and epidemiologist who has devoted decades to protecting children across the planet from diseases old and new,” Leaf said.
Before taking the helm at Gavi, Berkley founded and led the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, IAVI, another nonprofit organization, in 1996. His work helped ensure that safe and affordable HIV vaccines are in the process of being developed and will be distributed to vulnerable populations around the world.
More recently, throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Gavi has been contributing medical supplies to frontline workers and supporting testing initiatives. The organization plans to help globally distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is developed.
In accepting the award, Berkley said Gavi intended to make sure any potential COVID vaccine is “equitably distributed to everyone.”
“Countries are scrambling now to try to get vaccines, and that’s not an efficient way to do it. We’re going to end up in a deadly zero sum game,” he said.
“We’re not safe unless everyone is safe,” Berkley added.
Gavi, based in Geneva and backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, recently raised $8.8 billion to continue its mission. “There has been no greater champion for vaccinating the most vulnerable among us than Gavi,” Leaf said.