Global leaders rally to accelerate access to COVID-19 vaccines for lower-income countries

April 19, 2021

World leaders joined forces at the “One World Protected” event to take stock of progress in global efforts to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and seek ways to further accelerate vaccination, announced Gavi.

The event, hosted by US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Acting Administrator of USAID Gloria Steele, and Chair of the Board of Gavi José Manuel Barroso, was joined by more than 200 participants across the globe. A new Investment Opportunity was unveiled, launching a campaign to raise an additional $US 2 billion from donors and the private sector for the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). With this funding, the COVAX mechanism can lock in up to 1.8 billion vaccine doses for people at risk in 92 lower-income economies and accelerate coverage. The campaign will also aim to mobilize $US 1 billion in cost sharing from countries through domestic resource mobilization and the support of multilateral development banks (MDBs).

Blinken and Steele confirmed that the United States considers COVAX a critical instrument to ensure a coordinated global response. President Biden decided to join COVAX as one of the first acts of his new Administration, and the United States has become the single largest contributor to the Gavi COVAX AMC.

Steele noted, “The rapid spread of COVID-19 and its emerging variants demonstrates that no nation can act alone in a global pandemic. Vaccinating as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, is the only way to reduce the tragic loss of life, end the pandemic, and move us toward economic and social recovery."

The campaign will culminate in June 2021, where world leaders will meet again at the Gavi COVAX AMC Summit, hosted by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan.

In addition to financial support, new pledges in support of dose sharing through COVAX were announced at the event. Under this scheme, countries will be able to donate millions of doses of their own COVID19 vaccines to COVAX in an act of global solidarity. As part of this effort, New Zealand committed that it will donate more than 1.6 million doses of vaccines to COVAX, with a focus on the Pacific region. France welcomed the finalization of a new agreement between COVAX and Team Europe on the provision of doses which will ensure the first French and European donations via COVAX will materialize shortly.

The first international delivery of doses of COVID-19 vaccines supported by COVAX arrived in Ghana on February 24. As of today, more than 38 million doses have been shipped to 113 countries across six continents.

At the meeting, Heads of State and Ministers of Health of the countries that will see their vaccine coverage boosted by COVAX underlined the necessity to act quickly. The Chair of the African Union and President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, H.E. Felix Tshisekedi, noted the critical role that COVAX was playing to help put an end to the pandemic on the African Continent, and heralded the strong support of African nations for the mechanism. Pharmaceutical industry leaders reiterated their commitment to make doses available for COVAX to help stop the spread of the pandemic, and other partners reemphasized their commitments to the joint effort of ensuring global equitable access.

Gavi has the release.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.