• Norway, Italy, Japan, Spain, Ireland and Finland, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commit new funding to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
  • The funding will help immunise 300 million children over the next five years, saving up to 8 million lives, as well as support universal access to COVID-19 vaccines
  • Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: “This is a massive vote of confidence in Gavi’s mission’

Geneva, 5 May 2020 - Six countries have pledged new funding to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to both support the vaccination of hundreds of millions of children against diseases like pneumonia, measles and polio as well as support universal access to a COVID-19 vaccine. The announcements, which also included a new funding commitment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were made at yesterday’s Coronavirus Global Response pledging conference, hosted by the European Union.

Gavi needs at least US$ 7.4 billion for the 2021-25 period to protect 300 million children in 68 lower-income countries against deadly diseases. This funding will also ensure that the immunisation systems needed to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine are sustained through the pandemic. Gavi’s replenishment will conclude at the Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by the UK government on 4 June.

“This is a massive vote of confidence in Gavi’s mission,” said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Gavi Board. “It underlines how much we all will need the Vaccine Alliance in the coming years, both to prevent a resurgence of diseases like polio or measles as well as to ensure the most vulnerable, wherever they live, have access to an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. Norway, Italy, Japan, Spain, Ireland, Finland and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation all deserve our deep gratitude for these commitments, as does the EU for its leadership in global health.”

As part of the EU’s Coronavirus Global Response pledging conference, the following participants made funding commitments to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance:

  • Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg committed US$ 1 billion to Gavi, including US$ 400 million for the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), an increase from US$ 884.5 million in total funding for the 2016-2020 period. 
  • Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte committed €120 million in direct funding to Gavi, an increase from their previous €100 million five-year direct pledge to the 2016-2020 period.
  • Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe committed US$ 100 million in initial funding to Gavi, an increase from US$ 94.8 million for the 2016-2020 period.
  • Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez committed €50 million to Gavi, which comes in addition to their existing commitments for the 2021-2025 period for Gavi amounting to €47 million.
  • Ireland Taoiseach Leo Varadkar committed €18 million to Gavi, an increase from €15 million for the 2016-2020 period.
  • Finland Minister of Social Care and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen committed €2.5 million to Gavi – the country’s first pledge to the Vaccine Alliance since its inception in 2000.
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates committed US$ 50 million of new funding to Gavi to support its future efforts to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to lower-income countries.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after pledging €600 million to Gavi’s 2021-25 period at the World Economic Forum in January, committed further funding to Gavi as part of a €525 million commitment to the Global Response Initiative. Australia, the Netherlands, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea and Luxembourg also committed to continue their support to Gavi and make a pledge at or before next month’s Global Vaccine Summit.

“This is absolutely vital funding, which will help us both vaccinate millions of the most vulnerable children as well as help us deliver eventual COVID-19 vaccines to the most vulnerable,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “The development of a COVID-19 vaccine is our best chance of beating this disease, which is why today’s pledging conference was so important. However, we will only defeat COVID-19 if vaccines are available to everyone, no matter where they live. Today we have set out some initial proposals for how we can make this happen, and we will now be working with our partners to turn this quickly into action.”

The pledges made at yesterday’s conference build on commitments made by several countries in recent months. Last week the UK pledged £330 million per year to Gavi for the 2021-25 period, following commitments from Germany and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United States, Saudi Arabia, TikTok, Reed Hastings & Patty Quillin, and Alwaleed Philanthropies.

Separate to this funding, Gavi is proposing a new mechanism, a form of Advance Market Commitment (AMC), that would speed up the availability of COVID-19 vaccines by creating healthy market dynamics through incentives and investment.

Gavi published a proposal for a COVID-19 AMC in advance of today’s conference, following an article by CEO Seth Berkley in last week’s British Medical Journal. The proposed AMC would support the manufacturing and procurement of COVID-19 vaccines by:

  • Agreeing to buy large quantities of vaccines at established and equitable prices, to provide incentives to manufacturers to invest in large-scale capacity. This draws upon Gavi’s experience of an existing AMC for pneumococcal vaccines, which has prevented 700,000 children’s deaths, and of accelerating Ebola vaccines, which has helped to control the latest outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
  • Funding the expansion of manufacturing capacity, securing critical raw materials and equipment, and helping to transfer technology from developers to manufacturers. This draws upon the experience of the Meningitis Vaccine Project, which took a vaccine from a lab in the Netherlands to a large producer in India as well as others.

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