Geneva, 6 May 2020 – Ireland has announced EUR 18 million in new direct funding to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to support the vaccination of hundreds of millions of children against diseases like measles, polio and pneumonia over the next five years and support Gavi’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new pledge, made at the European Union’s Coronavirus Global Response pledging conference, is a 20% increase from Ireland’s previous EUR 15 million five-year pledge to the 2016-2020 period.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar emphasises that “working together, we can develop an effective vaccine, effective treatments, testing systems that work, diagnostics and therapeutics. Ireland wants to play its part, therefore I am announcing a new pledge of EUR 18 million to Gavi – to ensure that the poorest countries in the world will have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, if and when it is developed. It’s really important that nobody in the world is left out when that happens.”
Ireland has been a Gavi donor since 2002 and has a strong commitment to the organisation and its mission. Gavi’s focus on the world’s poorest and most fragile countries is closely aligned with Ireland’s vision of a more equal and sustainable world that leaves no one behind.
“We are grateful to Ireland as this is absolutely vital funding, which will help us both vaccinate millions of the most vulnerable children as well as help us preparing for a potential roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine to the most vulnerable,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “The development of a COVID-19 vaccine is our best chance of beating this disease, which is why yesterday’s pledging conference was so important. We should also ensure that vaccination continues in all Gavi-supported countries as we cannot afford other deadly epidemics. As we have seen, diseases do not respect borders and immunisation is our best shield against future pandemics.”
Gavi needs at least US$ 7.4 billion for the 2021-25 period to protect 300 million children in 68 lower-income countries against deadly diseases. This funding will also ensure that the immunisation systems needed to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine are sustained through the pandemic. Gavi’s replenishment will conclude at the Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by the UK government on 4 June.
Over 20 years, Gavi has helped to immunise more than 760 million children, saving more than 13 million lives. Over that time, the Alliance has also worked to strengthen health systems in the world’s poorest countries and establish vaccine stockpiles against serious global health security threats, including Ebola.