Geneva, 6 May 2020 – Italy has announced €120 million in new direct funding to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to both support the vaccination of hundreds of millions of children against diseases like pneumonia, measles and polio as well as support universal access to a COVID-19 vaccine. The new pledge, made at the EU’s Coronavirus Global Response pledging conference, is an increase from their previous €100 million five-year direct pledge to Gavi for the 2016-2020 period.
“In these critical times, Italy confirms its strong commitment to global cooperation, effective multilateralism and global health,” said H.E. Ms. Emanuela Claudia Del Re, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy. “Gavi is a key actor and a longstanding partner: we are proud to increase our direct contribution and ensure life-saving immunisation for an additional 300 million children as well as COVID-19 response. We need to ensure universal and equitable access to vaccines for everyone and leave no one behind.”
Italy has been a major donor to the Vaccine Alliance since 2006 when they became a founding member of IFFIm and is its third largest contributor with a total commitment of €492.3 million. Italy also took a leading role in launching the first Advance Market Commitment (AMC) to accelerate the development and availability of pneumococcal vaccines to children in the world’s poorest countries. They are the largest donor to the AMC having committed a total of US$ 635 million.
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.
“We are grateful to Italy for this absolutely vital funding, which will help us both vaccinate millions of the most vulnerable children as well as help us prepare 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, while we need to keep a hold on other diseases by ensuring vaccination continues. We cannot afford to have another epidemic, other diseases need to remain under control and the best tool we have is vaccination.”
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.