The Gates Foundation announced an additional $70 million in funding to support the global effort to find and deliver a safe COVID-19 vaccine to everyone, everywhere.
Melinda Gates made the announcement at the online Paris Peace Forum on Thursday.
COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which is led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will receive $50 million to provide vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries. The remaining $20 million will go to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is co-funding the development of several vaccines.
"COVID-19 anywhere is COVID-19 everywhere. That is why we have to ensure that everyone gets equal access to tests, drugs, and vaccines when they are available — no matter where you live in the world," Gates said at the forum.
"Our pledge today ... means we are getting closer to having the resources needed to help the world fight this virus," she continued.
COVAX AMC, GAVI, CEPI, and the Gates Foundation are all part of the World Heath’s Organization’s Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. The group brings together governments, scientists, businesses, philanthropists, and global health organizations to speed up the development of equally accessible COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
According to the United Nations, the least developed countries have been the most affected by COVID-19, as weaker health systems and fewer resources have made responding to the pandemic more difficult. The ACT-Accelerator plans to prioritize the distribution of vaccines in those countries.
The Gates Foundation has been funding COVID-19 efforts for many months and Thursday's pledge will bring their total contributions to COVAX AMC up to $156 million. Bill and Melinda Gates said that they hope these donations will inspire other philanthropists to donate as well.
The Gates donated $150 million to the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine developer, in early August. SII is working to make 100 million doses of a vaccine that would be available for $3 per dose and accessible to the world’s lower-income countries.
This week, data from Pfizer and BioNTech showed a 90% success rate and suggested that COVID-19 vaccines could be available by the end of 2020.
Gates Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Suzman told reporters that this was "an auspicious week" to be funding global COVID-19 projects.
"There's still a long way to go between that and getting vaccines approved (by regulators), and then into people who need them at the scale and with the kind of equitable global distribution we really need to bring the virus under control," Suzman said.
Launched in April by seven global partners, the ACT-Accelerator is a unique coalition aimed at accelerating global efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic. Its members are working together to develop tests, treatments, and vaccines as quickly as possible, while also strengthening the world’s most fragile health systems.
But the organization desperately needs financial support from governments around the world. You can join us in calling on world leaders to fund the ACT-Accelerator by taking action here.
Disclosure: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a funding partner of Global Citizen.
Editor's note: This piece has been updated to include a disclosure that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a funding partner of Global Citizen. We regret the oversight.