The announcements come as 94 higher-income economies have officially joined the COVAX Facility, a global effort to ensure rapid and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the most vulnerable groups across the world. These 94 self-financing participants in the COVAX Facility will join the 92 low- and middle-income economies eligible to have their participation in the Facility supported by the Gavi COVAX AMC.
“We are incredibly grateful for the support received so far. This vital funding not only helps us ensure lower-income economies aren’t left at the back of the queue when safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines become available, it will also play a vital role in ending the acute phase of this pandemic worldwide,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “However, this is not the time to take our foot off the gas. We urgently need to raise at least an additional US$ 5 billion by the end of 2021 to ensure equitable distribution of these vaccines to those who need them.”
The details of the latest Gavi COVAX pledges received are as follows:
- The President of the European Commission pledged EUR 100 million (approximately US$ 120 million) with the aim to support access to vaccines in lower income countries. This amount is in addition to the EUR 400 million (approximately US$ 480 million) in guarantees approved by the European Investment Bank (EIB) on Wednesday. These commitments contribute to Team Europe, a joint effort between the Commission, EIB, the EU’s 27 Member States, Norway and Iceland.
- France confirmed that the EUR 100m (approximately US$ 120 million) pledged at the Global Vaccine Summit on June 4, as special funds for Gavi to combat COVID-19, will go towards the Gavi COVAX AMC.
- Spain confirmed that EUR 50 million (approximately US$ 60 million) pledged at the Global Vaccine Summit on June 4, as special funds for Gavi to combat COVID-19, will go towards the Gavi COVAX AMC.
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged US$ 50 million to the Gavi COVAX AMC. This amount is in addition to US$ 106 million pledged by the Foundation for the COVAX AMC, bringing their total contribution to US$ 156 million.
- The Republic of Korea has earlier pledged US$ 10 million of new funding to the Gavi COVAX AMC.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also pledged an additional US$ 20 million to CEPI, which is leading COVAX vaccine research and development work to develop safe and effective vaccines which can be made available to countries participating in the COVAX Facility. Nine candidate vaccines are currently being supported by CEPI; eight of which are currently in clinical trials. Governments, vaccine manufacturers (in addition to their own R&D), organisations and individuals have committed US$ 1.3 billion towards vaccine R&D so far, but an additional US$800m is urgently needed to continue to move the portfolio forward.
The COVAX Facility is part of COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, civil society organisations and others. COVAX is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to economies of all financial means