Geneva, 11 March 2022 – Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance announced today that the Government of Germany will host a leader-level meeting aimed at helping raise at least US$5.2 billion in urgent financial support for COVAX, including US$ 3.8 billion in donor funding for lower-income countries supported by the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC). The virtual event – “2022 Gavi COVAX AMC Summit: Break COVID Now” – will be co-chaired by Svenja Schulze, German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development and José Manuel Barroso, Gavi Board Chair. It will take place on 8 April 2022.
Almost 1.2 billion funded and donated doses have now been provided through the Gavi COVAX AMC to lower-income countries and territories around the world, and a rapid scale up in deliveries through the end of 2021 has helped narrow the vaccine equity gap while providing countries with critical longer-term visibility on supply – but significant challenges still remain. Hundreds of millions of people, mainly in lower-income countries, remain unvaccinated and unprotected, while the virus continues to evolve in uncertain ways: a major variant has been identified every 4 months, on average, since the pandemic was declared.
In 2022, COVAX will be focused on building on the foundation in place to tackle those challenges, serving as an adaptable and flexible mechanism to support lower-income countries’ national COVID-19 vaccine objectives, and contributing to the global effort to break COVID. That will mean providing urgent delivery support to those furthest behind in coverage – while closely monitoring each country’s continually evolving needs and strategies, including the need to prioritise and sequence COVID-19 immunization alongside routine immunization and other essential health systems activities. It will also mean learning from the lessons of the past year and making sure funding is available now to support countries’ needs in the face of inevitable future evolutions of the pandemic. To support these goals, COVAX is seeking urgent additional funding of at least US$5.2 billion, of which Gavi is seeking to raise US$3.8 billion from sovereign and private donors.
Catalytic delivery funding will help countries increase rates of administration, now that supply is in place, and there is short and medium-term visibility of supply for the first time in the 12 months that vaccines have been available to AMC participants. In response to the high demand to-date for the $900m COVID-19 Delivery Support package that Gavi and partners have already put in place, urgent additional funding of US$ 1 billion will help lower-income countries rapidly protect more people against COVID-19. Of this amount, Gavi is seeking US$ 600 million to build on its Alliance work and provide direct support to lower-income governments for a range of readiness activities, while UNICEF is seeking US$400 million to support the critical work of its offices in lower-middle income countries and humanitarian contexts. Germany has also committed to work towards this effort with additional funding.
While seeking to build on the progress made, however, it is equally critical that we do not squander the lead we finally have in terms of supply meeting demand. COVAX’s current portfolio can meet current demand, but this situation will not remain static. It is essential that we continue to mitigate and guard against future risks: variant-adapted vaccines, new vaccines, changes in booster policies or target populations, shift towards an annual shot model are all potential scenarios that the world must account for. Financing will need to already be in place to respond quickly in each scenario. Failing to do so will result in repeating the past, with lower-income countries once again being at the back of the queue.
To avoid such a situation and manage those risks, Gavi is seeking urgent funding for a “Pandemic Vaccine Pool” – a flexible financial instrument that blends direct, contingent and innovative financing and will be able to act as a rapid response mechanism to support lower-income countries’ needs in the face of these inevitable changes. Alongside US$ 2.7 billion in funding from sovereign and private sector donors, multilateral development banks and lower-income countries can also contribute via cost-sharing, providing another source of rapid funding for vaccines made available through the pandemic vaccine pool to the COVAX AMC.
Gavi is also seeking US$545 million to fund ancillary costs of dose donations, buying syringes and paying for logistics to get doses to countries, helping donations continue to be a sustainable and complementary source of supply alongside funded doses from COVAX agreements.
“To be agile and flexible in our response, we need sufficient resources – this is one of the key lessons learned in 2021 and essential to pandemic preparedness. We need to respond quickly to in-country needs and invest in strengthening country delivery systems in order to put an end to this pandemic. No one is safe until everyone is safe,” said German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A). To help COVAX meet its goals, Germany has pledged an additional EUR 350 million in funding to the Gavi COVAX AMC, as part of a broader US$ 1.22 billion funding package for ACT-A to support access to COVID-19 treatments, tests, vaccines, and personal protective equipment. This new pledge, which is pending formal approval, builds on existing German pledges of EUR 1.03 billion, bringing the total German contribution to the global COVID-19 vaccination effort to EUR 1.38 billion. Germany has also pledged to donate 175 million doses of vaccines to COVAX, of which 90 million have already been shipped.
“Germany’s support for global vaccination and the fight against COVID-19 has been clear from the beginning. We thank the German government in their G7 Presidency year for their support in helping to break the COVID-19 pandemic by hosting this summit and pledging additional funding to the Gavi COVAX AMC and ACT-Accelerator. We particularly recognize and value that this leadership comes at a time when Berlin along with many other capitals are mobilizing to respond to the terrible civilian suffering created by the conflict in Ukraine,” stressed Prof. José Manuel Barroso, Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
“COVAX will need additional support through 2022 to ensure we can act now to support readiness and delivery to continue to accelerate rollout in countries, and anticipate and address future risks rapidly to meet future country demand. We must hope for the best, and plan for the worst: COVAX cannot again be at the back of the queue,” added Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “We look forward to bringing countries, manufacturers, donors, civil society and the private sector together on April 8th to strengthen the world’s collective response to COVID and commitment to future pandemic preparedness – and thank Germany for helping lead this effort.”
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