On May 7, 2021, Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World called on the world’s leaders to urgently contribute financially and donate excess COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need, to help bring the pandemic to an end for everyone, everywhere.
Millions of people from more than 100 countries tuned in for VAX LIVE, the concert, hosted by Selena Gomez, and featuring VAX LIVE campaign chairs Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
In the lead up to the event, Selena Gomez joined other celebrities and advocates, supporting the campaign on Twitter by calling on world leaders to step up support for global vaccine equity, alongside the actions of thousands of Global Citizens.
By May 2, the campaign had mobilized more than $53 million in commitments to secure vaccines in support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the vaccine-sharing program COVAX.
But, over two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, the world's most vulnerable countries still lack the capacity and resources to effectively tackle it. Despite high-income countries having an overall vaccination rate of 75%, low-income countries have only vaccinated 13% of their populations.
“Six months ago, at VaxLive, Global Citizens appealed to world leaders to step up support for equitable COVID-19 vaccine access, resulting in millions of doses committed to COVAX," said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in November.
"These pledges were important, but to make an impact they need to be delivered quickly, safely and at scale. This is why COVAX is calling on donor governments and manufacturers to set countries up for success by ensuring doses are available in larger and more predictable volumes, with longer shelf lives. By turning vaccines into vaccinations, we have a chance to beat the virus and begin to restore normalcy to our lives and economies," added Berkley.
COVAX has received $39.7 million in funding announced at VAX LIVE, with an additional $23.6 million matched and unlocked through the Gavi Matching Funds Mechanism. This funding has helped support vaccine acquisition, delivery, and digital solutions to combat COVID-19. $2.5 million in funding has been received by the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Fund to help the organization provide personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, and life-saving supplies to 162 countries. More than 14 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered from pledges made by Norway, Spain, and Croatia to countries and communities in need. Norway has delivered 6.7 million doses via COVAX, in addition to Spain, which has delivered all 7.5 million COVID-19 doses to countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, which were pledged as part of VAX LIVE. Spain has also delivered an additional 35 million COVID-19 doses to countries across the globe. Croatia delivered 50,000 COVID-19 doses, in coordination with COVAX, to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo, alongside Croatia’s announcement of €500,000 to COVAX, which has been disbursed to countries in need. New Zealand reiterated its pledge to donate 1.6 million COVID-19 doses to South Pacific nations, and has since increased that commitment to 2.7 million doses, which were delivered to Cameroon, Fiji, Indonesia, Malawi, Mauritania, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam. Global Citizen is also currently in contact with the governments of Canada and the United Arab Emirates and we expect to receive updates on their commitments in the near future. COVAX and WHO have received all the private sector funding announced at VAX LIVE and are using it to support the global fight against COVID-19, including the acquisition of PPE, vaccines, and delivery in Pakistan and Niger.