Geneva, 19 February 2021 – The virtual G7 Early Leaders’ Summit event saw the announcement of major new funding, including new pledges of EUR 980 million from Germany and EUR 500 million from the European Union, and an allocation of US$ 2 billion in funding by the United States for 2021, with an additional US$ 2 billion planned over 2021-2022. A number of other recent pledges bring funds raised for Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC), the funding mechanism to finance doses of COVID-19 vaccines for 92 lower-income economies within the COVAX Facility, to a total of US$ 6.3 billion. In addition, the United Kingdom announced it would be sharing surplus doses with COVAX, providing an additional source of vaccines for the world.
It comes at a time when COVAX – co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), alongside key delivery partner UNICEF – is preparing to begin distributing vaccines around the world. With these new contributions, Gavi is getting closer to achieving its initial objective to provide at least 1.3bn doses for the most vulnerable populations in the poorest economies in the world.
Building on this first success and initial layer of global protection within reach, COVAX can now start working with the international community to bring global health security to the next level, ensuring a global response against virus mutations and further amplifying vaccine roll out. With continued global solidarity, another half a billion additional doses could be within reach in 2021, bringing the total to 1.8bn.
José Manuel Barroso, Chair of the Gavi Board and former European Commission President, thanked G7 leaders present at the announcement: “Global leadership has demonstrated that it recognises the importance of a cooperative, multilateral approach to ending this pandemic as well as the power of vaccines to restore lives, and economies, to normal.”
COVAX AMC Engagement Group co-chair Dr. Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health of Ethiopia, stressed: "We are closer than ever to ending this pandemic, and we need global solidarity to get us over the finish line. These new funding commitments will allow COVAX to deliver doses to communities that need them the most, so that we can save lives, restore livelihoods and build back stronger.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced an additional EUR 980 million contribution to COVAX at the virtual G7 Early Leaders’ Summit. This unprecedented commitment by Germany is the country’s largest single pledge to support global health security. It comes alongside a broader German commitment to support the international effort to end COVID-19, with a significant additional funding pledge to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. Alongside support for the Gavi COVAX AMC, new German funding will also support reinforcement of diagnostics, therapeutics and health systems to combat COVID-19 around the world – because no-one is safe until everyone is safe.
Germany has long been a major supporter of Gavi, with a total of EUR 1.36 billion in contributions and pledges of direct funding for Gavi’s core mandate between 2006 and 2025. Today’s announcement of an additional EUR 980 million to COVAX builds on a strong partnership with Gavi.
Commenting on this announcement, German Federal Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Gerd Müller said: “The commitment made by Germany at the G7 Summit sends an important message: we will either beat COVID-19 worldwide or not at all. With nearly one billion euros of the funding committed, Germany will be supporting Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The German Chancellor is leading the way and conveying this important message of international solidarity. A global vaccination campaign is the only road out of the pandemic! It must not fail for lack of financing. Both for humanitarian reasons and in our own interest. Because it will not be enough to control the spread of the disease only within Europe. Otherwise it will come back – possibly in even more dangerous form.”
“So far, however, only 0.5 per cent of vaccinations have taken place in the poorest countries, Müller continued. “The aim is for at least 20 per cent of the population in the developing countries to be vaccinated by the end of the year. But the funding for that has not yet been secured, not even after the G7 summit. The G20 and the EU must also increase their efforts. More needs to be done internationally. Because vaccines are a global good. We need to ensure that those people in the developing countries who have been hardest hit are also sufficiently vaccinated.”
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, added: “This support for the Gavi COVAX AMC shows great commitment to equitable, global access to COVID-19 vaccines and is a major boost to our efforts to end the acute phase of the pandemic. We thank G7 countries, and particularly Germany and the United States, as well as the EU, for this strong leadership in the fields of global health and global health security.”
At the G7 virtual leaders’ meeting, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen announced an additional EUR 500 million pledge to the Gavi COVAX AMC, which includes EUR 300 million in grant funding from the European Commission and EUR 200 million in guarantees through the European Investment Bank (EIB). This is in addition to EUR 100 million already pledged by the European Commission and EUR 400 million in guarantees from the EIB in December 2020. This brings the Commission’s financial support to COVAX to EUR 1 billion as part of Team Europe’s considerable support to the COVAX AMC.
Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, added: “We are in a race against the virus and COVAX is our best hope that all our partners, in Africa and elsewhere, have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. The EU has been leading efforts in international fora, such as the G20 and G7, to guarantee that collectively we ensure that COVID-19 vaccines become a global public good. This is why today we are doubling to 1 billion euros. our support to COVAX”.
Using funds appropriated by a bipartisan Congressional vote in December 2020, the United States will provide an initial US$ 2 billion contribution to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment, the innovative financing instrument of the COVAX Facility, which supports access to safe and effective vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income economies. The United States will also take a leadership role in galvanizing further global contributions to COVAX by releasing an additional US$ 2 billion through 2021 and 2022. In close cooperation with Gavi, this additional $2 billion in funding will serve to expand COVAX’s reach.
A White House fact sheet on the announcement emphasised the U.S. commitment to catalyze other donors: "We also call on our G7 and other partners to work alongside Gavi, to bring in billions more in resources to support global COVID-19 vaccination, and to target urgent vaccine manufacturing, supply, and delivery needs."
Ireland also announced EUR 4 million in funding for COVAX today. Irish Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora Colm Brophy TD added: “Ireland is delighted to allocate €4 million to the COVAX Facility, part of at least €50 million in Irish Aid support to global public health this year. This will support developing countries, who most need vaccines and can least afford them, secure their share of global supply.”
These new announcements come on top of other recent pledges to Gavi’s COVAX AMC from a number of governments. These include additional pledges from Japan (US$ 70m), the Netherlands (EUR 25m) and Sweden (SEK100m) and new commitments from the Austrian Development Cooperation (EUR 2.4m), Belgium (EUR 4m), Iceland (ISK250m) and Luxembourg (EUR 1m).
The Thistledown Foundation, a private charitable foundation established in late 2019 by Tobias Lütke and Fiona McKean, has also pledged CAD 5 million to Gavi’s COVAX AMC to ensure equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines.
The UK Government has announced that the UK will share the majority of any future surplus coronavirus vaccines from its supply with the COVAX procurement pool to support developing countries, in addition to the UK’s £548 million existing funding for the COVAX AMC. This commitment allows the COVAX Facility to access an additional source of doses for participating economies.
This comes alongside a call by French President Emmanuel Macron for higher-income countries to reserve a percentage of their vaccine doses for lower-income economies. Gavi welcomes this renewed momentum created by President Macron, as dose sharing by countries in a position to do so can potentially add significant volumes of vaccines to the global effort to ending the acute phase of the pandemic. In addition to France and Norway as part of Team Europe, Canada has made a similar commitment.