Geneva, 23 July 2021 – Following a pledge made at the Gavi COVAX AMC Summit, hosted by Japan, the first COVID-19 vaccine doses donated by Japan are now reaching countries in Asia, with the first shipments set to arrive in Cambodia (332,000 doses) and Iran (1,087,570 doses) on Friday, 23 July, and Bangladesh (245,200 doses) on Saturday, 24 July. This donation means that hundreds of thousands of people will be protected, saving lives and moving us closer to our goal of global equitable access to vaccines.
The doses arriving in Cambodia, Iran and Bangladesh are the first of a donation of more than 11 million AstraZeneca doses of COVID-19 vaccines provided by Japan, which are being shared via the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC) with countries in Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, Pacific Island Countries, and others.
The Government of Japan announced in its press releases that “In order to overcome COVID-19, it is important to promote equitable access to vaccines not only in Japan but also throughout the world. Japan will continue to work towards securing equitable access to safe, effective and quality-assured vaccines through various support, responding to the needs of developing countries and the world, in cooperation with relevant countries and international organizations.”
“Japan has supported COVAX from the beginning and has provided US$ 1 billion in funding to the Gavi COVAX AMC. In operationalising its dose donation, the Government of Japan has further grown its commitment to global equitable access,” Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, added. “We look forward to seeing Japanese doses flowing to a number of countries in the coming weeks.”
In a global landscape where supply is still under significant pressure, and transmission is accelerating due to more transmissible new variants dose-sharing by countries with surpluses can help get vaccines to countries that need them right now. While a number of higher-income countries have now pledged doses, Gavi is now focusing on ensuring doses are donated as equitably and rapidly as possible and acknowledges the countries that have worked closely with COVAX in recent weeks to ensure all legal and logistical hurdles have been overcome, converting doses pledged to doses delivered.
These doses donated by Japan are produced by the AstraZeneca manufacturing network. Donating through COVAX helps to increase vaccine coverage, ensures that no dose goes to waste, and helps to bring an end to the acute phase of the pandemic.