Geneva, 20 November 2020 – Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, as co-lead of COVAX – along with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) – yesterday convened the first meeting of the COVAX AMC Engagement Group. The AMC Engagement Group, which is comprised of all AMC-eligible participants and donor governments and will be self-organising, is a key component of COVAX Facility governance. More than 500 participants, including high-level representatives from 101 economies, participated in the half-day virtual meeting.
The meeting was exceptionally co-chaired by Gavi Board member Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health of Ethiopia, and Gavi Board Vice-Chair Sarah Goulding, Assistant Secretary Global Development Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australia, pending appointments made by the AMC Engagement Group participants. Participants discussed updates on Facility progress, including the portfolio of promising vaccine candidates and preparations for country readiness and delivery, the organisational structure of the Group, and the process for finalising Terms of Reference and appointments – anticipated to occur over the next few weeks.
“Just one week after the generous support of donors helped us surpass the US$2 billion AMC fundraising target for 2020, the incredible level of participation at this milestone meeting is a testament to the spirit of multilateral collaboration that is driving COVAX,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi.
Gavi is coordinating the design and implementation of the COVAX Facility, a global mechanism which seeks to procure, equitably allocate and deliver 2 billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021. 95 higher-income economies have already signed up as self-financing members of the Facility, joining the 92 low-and middle-income economies who will have their participation supported by the Gavi COVAX AMC. The COVAX AMC recently surpassed its 2020 fundraising target of US$2 billion, with at least US$5 billion more needed in 2021 to procure subsidised donor-funded doses of approved vaccines to vulnerable groups in AMC-eligible economies.
As part of the effort to ensure rapid, equitable access, Gavi is collaborating closely with Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO to work with countries to prepare to receive and deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines once they are available – including providing technical support for cold chain infrastructure and technical assistance. The COVAX Facility is also working closely with multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, to ensure AMC participants have options to cost-share in order to procure doses beyond those that are donor-funded as well as to prepare for delivery.
The COVAX Facility is part of COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which is co-led by CEPI, Gavi and 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.