Geneva, 19 January 2022 – Global leaders today called for urgent additional funding of at least US$ 5.2 billion for the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC) to establish a Pandemic Vaccine Pool of a minimum of 600 million additional doses to address uncertainties and risks in the virus’ evolution, provide bundled finance to strengthen delivery systems in recipient countries, and cover essential ancillary costs.
In calling for the additional funds, the leaders stressed that vaccines have demonstrated an incredible effectiveness at preventing serious disease. They also said that the best way now to protect and build on the progress made so far is to help as many people as possible around the world receive their primary vaccination while ensuring an ability to act quickly in response to any future developments of the pandemic. This would be critical not only to protect the health and economies of lower income countries, but also to protect the entire world against continuing waves of virus variants.
The leaders of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, all partners in COVAX, the global mechanism for delivering safe and equitable COVID-19 vaccines – the vaccine pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) – were speaking at the launch of Break COVID Now, the Investment Opportunity for the Gavi COVAX AMC. The event also featured government ministers from a number of donor and implementing countries, as well as the President of the European Investment Bank.
Launched in 2020, COVAX delivered its first vaccines in January 2021, 39 days after the first vaccination outside of a clinical trial. COVAX has now shipped over one billion doses to 144 countries, 90% of which (nearly 900 million in total) have gone to lower income countries eligible for donor-supported vaccines via the Gavi COVAX AMC. Together with COVAX partners and the work of other regional initiatives like AVATT, Africa CDC and the AU; PAHO in the Americas; APVAX in the Asia Pacific region; COVAX has worked to ensure supplies and delivery are coordinated as part of a major global multilateral effort to ensure equitable access to life-saving tools.
With COVAX having sufficient confirmed supplies to be able to protect approximately 45% of the population of AMC economies thanks to existing cash contributions and dose donations from donors, additional funding is sought to provide the mechanism with the flexibility to respond to the needs of individual AMC countries as they work toward meeting their own national vaccination strategies and adapting these strategies to Omicron and other future variants.
Specifically, COVAX leaders called for at least US$ 5.2bn in new funding: US$ 3.7 billion to fund a 600 million dose Pandemic Vaccine Pool to address uncertainties and related uncovered risks, such as boosters, additional coverage, new variant vaccines if required, and to make sure there is reliable supply for the poorest countries. In addition, catalytic delivery funding of US$ 1 billion is requested to support getting doses into arms rapidly and safely without undermining routine immunization activities. A further US$ 545 million is needed to cover ancillary costs such as syringes, transport and insurance for donations.
“The pandemic is far from over: while we make progress, we must ensure that we can continue to respond to the needs of the countries we support,” Prof José Manuel Barroso, Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, stressed. “We thank those that have already made commitments, and we encourage others to join us.”
Donors have already begun to answer COVAX’s call. Early initial pledges of US$ 192 million to the 2022 target include:
Additionally, the private sector and philanthropists have also stepped up and a contribution of $66 million was recently made to support the Gavi COVAX AMC – showing continued commitment from private donors and investors of the need to accelerate equitable access to vaccines.
“COVAX has delivered more than 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in just under a year – an unprecedented achievement in global public health given all the well-known challenges that were faced in 2021,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. " I want to thank our donors for making this possible. In 2022, we can help break COVID by adapting our support to ensure doses are used rapidly, get into arms safely, are responsive to country preferences and coverage targets. This will help the world to reduce pandemic risks and uncertainties.”
In 2022, modelling results estimate that the Gavi COVAX AMC will save 1-1.27 million lives in eligible countries that would otherwise be lost to the pandemic. The economic cost of the pandemic could be reduced by as much as half in some countries if vaccines are rolled out rapidly.
Building on existing partnerships, stakeholders and the multilateral system, using the strengths of each and ensuring a coherent global approach across supply and demand, and reporting to countries and donors, at overheads no more than 3% of the financial commitments made – while using innovative financing instruments such as IFFIm, as well as the front-loading facility of the EIB – Gavi is able to leverage every single dollar it receives, meaning COVAX can play a key role in supporting countries’ vaccination strategies against COVID-19 throughout the year.
This investment opportunity is part of the broader effort to support the continued work of the ACT-Accelerator, which aims to provide countries with access to all the life-saving tools needed to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic – vaccines, tests, treatments and PPE.
“As we mark the milestone of the billionth dose shipped through COVAX, I renew my call for more support for this mechanism to accelerate vaccination for all against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Prof. Faustin Archange Touadera, President of the Central African Republic
“At the G20 Summit in Rome, I expressed my support for the goal of vaccinating 70% of the population in all countries by mid-2022, building onto Japan’s pledge of 1 billion US dollars in total announced at the COVAX AMC Summit co-hosted by Japan in June 2021. I call on other global leaders to continue to work together to improve equitable access to safe and effective vaccines,” said Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan.
“COVAX has proven to be our best weapon against the pandemic,” added Alexander Schallenberg, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs, Republic of Austria. “We have achieved a lot so far, but we have to continue and we can’t stop now. This is why Austria has contributed a further 2,5 million Euros to the COVAX AMC, bringing us to a total of 7,5 million Euros. If COVAX didn’t exist we would need to invent it as it has proven that only when we work together and engage in multilateralism, we will have the possibility to finally overcome this pandemic and to emerge out of it stronger and more united.”
“Congratulations to COVAX as 1 billion vaccines were successfully distributed. Belgium is a proud partner of COVAX,” said Meryame Kitir, Belgium’s Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy. “We need to vaccinate the world. On the short term, increasing availability of vaccines in the world is a priority. This is why I gave a green light to further support COVAX for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, and support logistics and deliveries. In addition, I want to pursue structural solutions to today’s vaccine inequalities.”
“We are united in our commitment to do whatever it takes to end this crisis for everyone, everywhere. Now is not the time to stop or to slow our efforts,” stressed Harjit Sajjan, Minister of International Development of Canada. “We need to continue to work with our developing country partners to make sure they have the resources and tools to get vaccines from airports, to freezers, to health centres and into arms as quickly as possible. We can all be a part of the solution by continuing to support COVAX, like Canada has done since day one.”
“We must press on in our shared global effort to make vaccines available to everyone – especially those who need them the most,” Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Flemming Møller Mortensen underlined. “With a new contribution of 15 million Danish Kroner for syringes and other essential supplies – and more than 7,7 million vaccines committed for donation from Denmark to COVAX so far - we continue our support for COVAX’s mission to protect the vulnerable and provide equitable access to vaccines.”
“Finland is a strong supporter of COVAX and at the end of 2021 we added more than €5 million to our previous €10 million commitment to support the global efforts to fight the pandemic,” said Ville Skinnari, Finnish Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade. “We can’t let the world down and COVAX is our best collective answer.”
“COVAX had to endure many obstacles. But in the end, COVAX shows multilateralism delivers and benefits people across the globe,” stressed Retno Marsudi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Indonesia (G20 Presidency). “COVAX demonstrates what we can achieve if we work together and put forward solidarity. We need a renewed global push to defeat COVID-19. As the Co-Chair of COVAX AMC EG, I urge all countries and donor communities to demonstrate its support for COVAX through this Investment Opportunity. This is not a matter of charity, but it is in our collective interest to ensure COVAX can finish its job”
“COVAX represents multilateral solidarity at its best. Ireland is proud to have been an early partner in this unprecedented endeavour and we remain committed to universal and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, as well as diagnostics and treatments,” added Colm Brophy, Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Republic of Ireland. “This is why Ireland supports COVAX's new Investment Opportunity and since late 2021 has committed an additional 9.5 million Euros towards its new funding phase, more than tripling its contribution to a total of 13.5 million Euros. We will do anything it takes to get doses into the arms of people that need them.”
Dominique Hasler, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Principality of Liechtenstein, underlined: “We act in solidarity in our common fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Liechtenstein doubled its contribution to COVAX AMC, which is playing an important role in combating the pandemic.”
Franz Fayot, Minister of the Economy, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of Luxembourg, added: “Luxembourg supports the WHO vaccination targets to vaccinate 70% of the world population by mid-2022 and to mitigate the effects of the two-track pandemic. No one should be left behind in the fight against COVID-19. We actively engage in multilateral initiatives such as COVAX to promote vaccine equity in order to allow all countries to have access to immunization against COVID-19. In 2021, we doubled our initial contribution to COVAX AMC to a total of 4 million EUR, reinforcing our support to COVAX substantially.”
“I am dedicated to combating corona by investing in a fair distribution of vaccines and in strengthening national health systems in developing countries,” said Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands. “Governments, local communities, private partners and individuals need to join forces and contribute to COVAX.”
“Aotearoa New Zealand is a strong supporter of COVAX and the critical work it does,” said Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand. “This further contribution to the COVAX AMC is part of our global COVID-19 response and ensures that more people in developing countries are able to protect themselves and their families.”
"In Niger, COVAX has delivered over 3.8 million doses of vaccines, allowing us to vaccinate over 1,016,000 people,” added Dr. Idi Illiassou Mainassara, Minister of Public Health of Niger. “But there is much work still to do. As supply to countries becomes increasingly regular, we need to ensure there is support to guarantee these doses are used in the most effective and efficient way possible."
“Equity in access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatment is crucial,” Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development of Norway stressed. “As part of the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator, the COVAX Facility has delivered 1 billion vaccine doses worldwide. I welcome the launch of the COVAX Investment Opportunity. Norway has contributed with an additional 500 million NOK to this initiative. To achieve equitable access to covid-19 tools, we must fully finance the COVAX Investment Opportunity and the ACT-Accelerator.”
‘’Spain has been committed to a multilateral approach to overcome the COVID19 pandemic since the beginning of vaccine distribution, as evidenced by our support for COVAX. We have donated more than 50 million vaccines via COVAX, and contributed 178.5 million euros in funding to COVAX. In addition, following the approval of the first malaria vaccine, we have made a contribution of €10 million to support the future activities of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance," said José Manuel Albares Bueno, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation.
“As part of Team Europe, the European Investment Bank is making EUR 300 million in financing available to enable African countries to access additional doses through COVAX. Ensuring global access to COVID vaccines is crucial to fight the pandemic and the European Investment Bank is pleased to back COVAX around the world. Scaling up engagement through the innovative COVAX Investment Opportunity will both enable new affordable supplies and allow countries to acquire more vaccines. This is crucial to increase vaccination worldwide,” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.”
Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said: “The catastrophic failure of the world to ensure global vaccine equity has resulted in an ever-evolving pandemic with highly mutated variants, like Omicron, threatening to impact vaccine efficacy. We must confront these challenges in parallel, pushing forward the urgent need to get vaccines to everybody, everywhere, while also advancing vaccine R&D to ensure our tools remain safe and effective against newly emerging variants. Together, through greater aligned investment in the science, alongside investment in enabling fair and equitable global allocation of vaccines through the COVAX AMC, we can remain one step ahead of the virus. Failure to do so will only cause further global tragedy and prolonging of this devastating crisis.”
“As the world enters the third year of the deepest health crisis in a century, it is more urgent than ever that the achievements of science in developing multiple safe and effective vaccines in record time are matched by the same level of determination, innovation and cooperation to reach our shared target of vaccinating 70% of the population of every country by the middle of this year,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “As the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, COVAX has played a vital role in delivering more than 1 billion doses to countries, but there is still much more work to do. Fully financing COVAX – along with the other pillars of the ACT Accelerator – is essential to facilitate equitable access to lifesaving vaccines, tests and treatments, as well as supporting health systems to turn vaccines into vaccinations and roll out programmes as soon as possible.”