More than a dozen countries reiterated their commitment to tackling COVID-19 through financial commitments totaling $4.8 billion at the 2022 Break COVID Now Summit on Friday.
The virtual summit, co-hosted by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, alongside Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, and Senegal, brought together world leaders and donors in support of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Together, they urged the world to remember that the pandemic is not yet over.
Among the top donors were Japan with US$500 million, Germany with 400 million euros, and Canada with CA$220 million, followed by Brazil with US$86.7 million, the European Commission with 75 million euros, Australia with AU$85 million, and many more.
These pledges will help lower-income countries deliver more vaccinations, work to secure equitable access for potentially new vaccines, as well as provide additional help for countries looking to obtain their own vaccines in the future, according to Gavi.
To that end, Gavi will launch the Pandemic Vaccine Pool, which will help with securing new COVID-19 vaccines in the future. Multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and European Investment Bank, will then facilitate low-cost financing for countries that wish to purchase more vaccines than the ones that are donor-funded.
“We welcome this incredible show of global solidarity from so many stakeholders at a time when the world faces multiple challenges,” Prof. José Manuel Barroso, Gavi board chair, said in a statement. “This pandemic is not over: while gaps in coverage remain, it will continue to wreak havoc on individuals, communities, and economies. Achieving equity is the key to breaking COVID now. We cannot afford to wait and risk the virus undoing all the progress that has been made.”
COVAX, which is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is a global initiative co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Gavi, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF. It was initially created to provide equitable access to a diverse portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, it has shipped more than 1.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to lower-income countries and has paid out more than $600 million in delivery support. This is an important feat, but one of its recent goals had been to distribute 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.
While COVAX has run into issues ranging from vaccine supply to in-country delivery to vaccine nationalism, commitments like the ones announced on Friday are vital to its success.
“Funding for delivery support and ancillaries is urgently needed to help close the vaccine equity gap by helping countries more rapidly reach their national vaccine coverage targets,” a Gavi statement reads. “The Pandemic Vaccine Pool is an instrument aimed at securing equitable access to new vaccines in the future, such as variant-adapted vaccines, by ensuring resources are on hand to make instant down payments should the need arise.”