London, 1 June 2020 – Italy has announced a new commitment of €150 million, to be paid in equal installments from 2026 to 2030, to the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), which will issue bonds on international capital markets against this and other long-term donor funding to accelerate the availability of financing for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s programmes.
The pledge comes only a month after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced at the European Union-hosted Coronavirus Global Response pledging conference that Italy would provide €120 million in funding for Gavi to support the vaccination of hundreds of millions of children against diseases like pneumonia, measles and polio as well as universal access to a COVID-19 vaccine. That pledge represented an increase over Italy’s previous €100 million five-year direct pledge for the 2016 to 2020 period.
“Italy is intensifying its investment in Gavi because, over the last two decades, the Alliance has proven itself as one of the most transformative tools of global health progress,” said Roberto Gualtieri, Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finances. “Gavi’s record of success makes it an obvious and essential element of the global arsenal against COVID-19, which continues to cause death and devastation on a scale that the world has not witnessed for generations, and IFFIm is an important part of what Gavi brings to this effort. Like many countries, Italy has suffered from the wrath of the pandemic, and we place equal access to health care at the top of our list of global development priorities. We are therefore pleased to build on Italy’s long-time support for Gavi and IFFIm, which aim to neutralise the growing COVID-19 threat and ensure that widespread immunisation for other dreadful diseases continues in developing countries.”
“Gavi’s success is built on partnerships across many countries and sectors around the globe, and Italy has been an especially important part of that network,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “We very much welcome Italy’s growing investment in Gavi and IFFIm, whose work has never been as urgent as it is today. With Italy’s help, Gavi is supporting the development and equitable deployment of eventual COVID-19 vaccines, and it is working hard to preserve hard-won immunisation gains in Gavi-eligible countries, whose health systems are straining under the rising burden of the pandemic.”
Italy, which previously committed €499 million (US$ 635 million) to IFFIm over 20 years, is one of its founding and leading donors. Italy also took a leading role in launching the first Advance Market Commitment to accelerate the development and availability of pneumococcal vaccines, and it is the largest donor to the AMC with a pledge of US$ 635 million.
“We are extremely grateful to Italy for this significant support during these challenging times when flexible financing for Gavi is of such importance,” said Cyrus Ardalan, chair of IFFIm’s board of directors. “Italy’s new, long-term support provides IFFIm with the resources necessary to help Gavi extend life-saving vaccines to every child in the world and to take on the COVID-19 crisis.”
Italy’s announcement comes shortly before the UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit on June 4, when world leaders will finalise pledges for a combined total of at least US$ 7.4 billion for Gavi’s 2021 to 2025 programme period. The funding will help countries immunise 300 million children in the world’s poorest countries against diseases like measles, polio and diphtheria, support health systems to withstand the impact of COVID-19 and enable the roll out of a COVID-19 vaccine, once developed, on a global scale.