Geneva, 4 February 2022 – Over half a billion COVID-19 vaccines donated by high income countries have now been shipped to COVAX participating economies. The milestone, which was reached nine months after the first dose donations in April 2021 has seen the participation of 31 donors and benefited 105 countries.
Donations gained speed at a time when global supply was severely constrained, and have played a major role in COVAX’s effort to ensure all countries have access to life-saving vaccines, accounting for nearly half of the 1.1 billion doses now delivered to participating economies (over 1 billion of those doses have gone to lower-income economies eligible for vaccines through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment, or Gavi COVAX AMC). Over 95% of the donated doses have been shipped to lower-income economies eligible for vaccines through the Gavi COVAX AMC, with over 45% shipped to the African continent. The design and operationalization of the COVAX dose sharing mechanism is being supported by a contribution of CAD 5 million from Canada.
Without dose donations, balanced across 4 suppliers, hundreds of millions of people would still be waiting for their first COVID-19 vaccination. As COVAX seeks to help all countries meet their national vaccination objectives in 2022 through tailored support, donations will continue to play an important role in our efforts.
“The COVAX dose donation programme has played an important role in helping us reach over 1.1 billion doses delivered to 144 countries. We now celebrate the milestone of 500 million donated doses shipped,” said Prof. José Manuel Barroso, Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “We thank Team Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, New Zealand and Hong Kong SAR, China for supporting COVAX’s goal of equitable access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.”
COVAX has funds and donated doses confirmed to achieve an average coverage level of 45% of the populations of 91 lower income economies by mid-2022 based on a two-dose vaccine regime. In order to ensure it has the flexibility to provide further assistance to countries, or respond to new needs, COVAX in January launched a call for at least an additional US$ 5.2 billion in new funding. The money is needed urgently to resource a rapid response mechanism to finance at least 600 million doses Pandemic Vaccine Pool for use as and when needed by AMC countries to respond to demand for doses for effective coverage against new variants or boosters against waning immunity, support countries’ readiness and delivery efforts and pay for costs associated with rolling out more donated doses.
“To control the COVID-19 pandemic, we must beat it in every part of the world,” said Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. “As Team Europe we have been sharing safe and effective vaccines with the world, the large majority via COVAX. Over half a billion COVID-19 vaccines delivered through COVAX is an impressive milestone, but more is needed. We continue our collaboration with COVAX and vaccine manufacturers, with donors and recipient countries and with other delivery partners to ensure that vaccines are delivered and administered where they are most needed.”
“This pandemic requires global solutions,” underlined Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. “Together with COVAX, we can accomplish what no one country could accomplish alone – ensuring vaccines are shared equitably with those who need them most. Canada will continue to work with the COVAX Facility and encourages all to join forces to get through this pandemic and build a future that is healthier and safer for everyone.”
“Angola welcomes dose donations as a practical solution to ensure that as many people as possible can access vaccines in every corner of the world as fast as possible,” stressed Dr Silvia Lutucuta, Minister of Health, Angola. “However, as deliveries ramp up, COVAX and donor countries must continue to work together to ensure countries receive a predictable supply of high-quality dose donations, with long shelf lives, to allow us to effectively plan our national vaccination campaigns and protect more lives.”
"Sharing the vaccine between countries has played a critical role in filling the vaccine supply gap and has helped Egypt and other countries enhance levels of vaccine coverage," said Dr Hala Zayed, Minister of Health, Egypt. "We appreciate the support from COVAX and donor countries, and look forward to a continued partnership, as we work towards achieving greater levels of vaccine equity.”
To continue the work on dose donations, we are today publishing revised dose sharing principles that COVAX uses to guide the donation process with donors and manufacturers. These update the principles published in December 2020.