What is next week’s Gavi COVAX AMC Summit hoping to achieve?
The virtual event aims to raise at least US $3.8 billion from donors, as part of a wider US $5.2 billion package of support, to ensure that everyone everywhere has access to COVID-19 vaccines – here’s what those funds will be spent on.
- 29 March 2022
- 4 min read
- by Gavi Staff
Although COVID-19 cases and deaths are falling in some countries, others which are opening their borders and lifting restrictions are seeing spikes. There are still millions of new cases each week, and new variants of SARS-CoV-2 continue to emerge.
Millions in low- and middle-income countries are yet to be vaccinated against this threat, even as those in wealthier countries have had booster shots. Many vulnerable countries still need support in ramping up national vaccination efforts.
[Gavi] support has helped build cold chain capacity to store one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses and introduced the first ultra-cold chain storage for mRNA vaccines in more than 50 countries.
On 8 April 2022, the Government of Germany will co-host a leader-level virtual event - The 2022 Gavi COVAX AMC Summit: Break COVID Now - to ensure that we don’t drop our guard against COVID-19 now. The virus is still ravaging the world and millions are at risk. The Summit is aimed at helping raise at least US$ 3.8 billion from donors in donor funding, as part of a wider US$ 5.2bn package of support for lower-income countries supported by the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC). Innovative finance will also be an important contributor.
COVAX has evolved since it was first set up in early 2020. Two years on, the initiative will build on the achievements made so far to support lower-income countries in vaccinating more of their people against COVID-19, and help prepare for the next infectious threat.
Helping countries deliver vaccines
At the start of the pandemic, vaccine supply was an issue because of manufacturing constraints, export bans on raw ingredients and other bottlenecks. Now, for the first time in two years, getting hold of vaccines is less of an issue. Not only is manufacturing sustainable, COVAX’s dose donation programme – through which wealthier countries donate doses to less well-off countries – is offering high predictability and a long-term pipeline.
This means that countries with low vaccination rates can scale up COVID-19 vaccine delivery, knowing their supply is safe.
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But just because countries can do this in theory, doesn’t mean they are fully equipped to do so in practice. With additional funds, COVAX could help countries by providing catalytic delivery funding to boost capacity and get more shots into arms, including through dose donations.
The new COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership (CoVDP) is aimed at helping countries build absorptive capacity for vaccine deliveries. The funding provided via the COVID-19 Delivery Support (CDS) Fund so far has included technical assistance, funding for vaccinators and health workers, and support to build delivery systems. This support has helped build cold chain capacity to store one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses and introduced the first ultra-cold chain storage for mRNA vaccines in more than 50 countries.
The fund needs replenishing, however, and an extra $600 million of new funding is urgently needed for in-country delivery. Dose donations have played a crucial role so far in helping COVAX balance supply and demand but an additional $545 million is needed to cover costs for syringes, shipment and membership of the critical “no-fault compensation scheme” in order for future donated doses to be used.
Stopping the next pandemic threat
While the progress made so far in ensuring vaccine supply is reassuring, the virus will continue to evolve. There is the possibility that the next variant is far more deadly. Each new variant heralds the possibility that new vaccines will be urgently needed – the most vulnerable countries should not go to the back of the queue yet again.
To be able to quickly react to an ever-changing pandemic, the Summit will host the launch of a new Pandemic Vaccine Pool, with up to $2.7 billion of cash or contingent pledges that will be triggered by specific events such as the need for variant-adapted vaccines.
This will allow COVAX to react quickly and effectively to a new threat. It will also mean countries can rebuild their health systems and economies to face whatever the future has to hold.