World leaders put their weight behind COVAX in bid to achieve equitable vaccine supply

JAPAN – The Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) summit hosted in Tokyo by Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide and Gavi Board Chair; José Manuel Barroso brought together world leaders who have pledged their support toward COVAX AMC in procurement and supply of Covid vaccines.

During the summit, donors pledged USD 775 million for vaccine delivery. An additional 2.4 billion USD was secured raking up the COVID-19 vaccine procurement fund to 9.6 billion USD.

At the event today, a number of donor governments announced significant new commitments worth a total of US$ 2.4 billion towards the 2021 goal. Japan topped the amount by committing USD 800 million, Australia USD 38.7 million, Austria USD 3.1 million, Canada USD 182.1 million, France 121.7 million USD among other countries.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also made a commitment to COVAX AMC worth USD 50 million to purchase vaccines and also pledged to assist the Vaccine Alliance deliver these vaccines to lower-income countries and economies.

In addition to these, private sector partners also mobilized significant new resources totaling more than US$ 300 million for the Gavi COVAX AMC.

New partners such as UBS Optimus Foundation who contributed USD 1.5 million and Twilio USD 10 million joined COVAX, and existing partners such as Google.org USD 2.5 million, Mastercard USD 28 million and Visa Foundation USD 3 million increased their commitments in support of vaccine equity.

The funding will facilitate COVAX to secure 1.8 billion fully subsidized doses for delivery to lower-income economies in 2021 and early 2022. This is enough to protect nearly 30% of the adult population in AMC-eligible economies.

The funds raised will also support COVAX to diversify its vaccine portfolio in times of supply uncertainty and new variant emergence and to plan the scenarios and strategy for public health needs for 2022 and beyond.

José Manuel Barroso, Chair, Gavi Board, thanked all donors in what he termed as a move that will enable broader sections of the population to be protected against covid, a milestone in efforts to bring the pandemic under control.

The United States of America hosted the launch of the Gavi COVAX AMC Investment Opportunity in April and today Vice President Kamala Harris attended the Summit, reiterating US support as a key Gavi partner for more than two decades. Its commitment of US$ 4 billion for procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines for lower-income countries is helping ensure COVAX is equipped to reach its goals.

Alongside the financial pledges, the Summit also saw a number of new dose-sharing commitments, amounting to 54 million, supporting the Gavi COVAX AMC in its immediate supply needs.

These included; 30 million vaccine doses produced in Japan to the COVAX Facility, other countries and economies, 4 million vaccine doses donated by Belgium to the COVAX facility, 3 million vaccine doses donated by Denmark primarily to the COVAX Facility, 15 million vaccine doses donated by Spain to the COVAX Facility (on top of the 7.5 million previously pledged), 2 million vaccine doses donated by Sweden to the COVAX Facility on top of the 1 million previously pledged).

The first international delivery of doses of COVID-19 vaccines supported by COVAX arrived in Ghana on 24 February. As of today, more than 77 million doses have been shipped to 127 countries across six continents. Doses shared by countries will be used to make up for COVAX’s short-term supply disruption, which is expected to last into the third quarter of 2021.

We cannot risk prolonging this pandemic a day longer. With enough global support for COVAX, we can ensure vaccines are accessible to those that need them the most, across the continent and the world,” Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group Chief Executive Officer, remarked.

The European Investment Bank has stepped up to support African Union countries with EUR 300 million financing to access vaccines via the COVAX cost-sharing scheme – leveraging domestic resources to procure safe and efficacious vaccines through COVAX. 

Elsewhere in the program, commitments were made to free up supply chains and remove bottle necks that restrict or slow down the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, raw materials and components. Vaccine manufacturers have reaffirmed their support to COVAX as the only global solution to ending the acute phase of the pandemic.

Bringing an end to the COVID-19 pandemic is the most pressing challenge of our time – and nobody wins the race until everyone wins,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “Today, as we looked back on one year of COVAX, we saw that global leaders clearly recognize the need for equitable access and support the principle that ability to pay should not determine whether someone is protected from this virus.”

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