"We must make this the decade of vaccines," Bill Gates said Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The commitment is the largest pledge ever made by a charitable foundation to a single cause, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported.
The $10 billion program is to focus on vaccines for AIDS, pneumonia, tuberculosis and rota virus, the Gateses said, adding vaccines for those diseases could prevent nearly 9 million deaths.
The Gateses, who amassed their wealth through Bill Gates's development of Microsoft Corp. into today's computer software behemoth, said they were concerned the global recession and competing government prioritize would slow effort to combat diseases in developing countries, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Excluding Friday's commitment, the Gates Foundation has committed more than $21 billion to global health, education and agriculture since it was established in 1994.