US $8.8 Billion Pledged For Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance – Smashing US $7.4 Billion Goal
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing total pledges to Gavi’s 2021-2025 replenishment cycle

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance raised a whopping US $8.8 billion at the first ever virtual Global Vaccine Summit co-hosted Thursday by the United Kingdom, surpassing the fundraising goal of US $7.4 billion.

“We have secured a fantastic US $8.8. billion for Gavi’s work over the next five years and I’d like to thank everyone very, very much,” said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

In a rare show of multilateralism, United States President Donald Trump sent a video message of support after Johnson personally reached out – but did not specify the US pledge in his speech. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had announced in February a pledge of US $1.16 billion to Gavi for 2020 to 2023.

US President Donald Trump makes rare show of global health solidarity in a video message at the Global Vaccine Summit

”There are no borders, [the virus] doesn’t discriminate, it’s been it’s nasty but we can all take care of it together. It’s great to be partnering with [Gavi]. We will work hard, we will work strong…good luck, let’s get the answer,” said Trump.

Over 25 Heads of State and 50 leaders of agencies, regional associations, and private industry attended the fundraising event for Gavi, a public-private partnership that finances vaccine programs in over 80 low income countries. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus were among those who sent messages of support.

“There is an important lesson we need to understand – the vaccine by itself is not enough. Now is the time for global solidarity…to ensure that every person everywhere gets access to the vaccine,” said Antonio Guterres. “In our global village, our individual health depends on our collective health.”

Since COVID-19 struck the world, Gavi’s role has become more important than ever, as 80 million children are at risk of missing out on routine vaccines for TB, pneumonia and diarrhea, said WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros.

With the money pledged, Gavi aims to immunise an additional 300 million children in low- and lower-middle income countries, saving an estimated additional 8 million lives between 2020-2025. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Advanced Market Commitment Fund Created to Secure Supply For Low-Income Countries

Gavi also announced an anticipated COVID-19 Advanced Market Commitment (Covax AMC), which will be used to make volume guarantees to sellers of effective COVID-19 vaccines, and make sure a portion of the global supply will be set aside for low-income countries. 

“Donors commit funds upfront to guarantee the price of vaccines once they’ve been developed. This provides vaccine manufacturers with the incentive to invest in vaccine R&D, and to scale up manufacturing capacity,” explained Gavi CEO Seth Berkley. “GAVI’s role is to address [vaccine] market failures when market forces don’t deliver the best outcome for the public.”

GAVI’s CEO Seth Berkley explains how advanced market commitments function

AstraZeneca became the first pharma manufacturer to sign up for the Covax AMC, guaranteeing a supply of at least 300 million doses once their vaccine candidate, developed in conjunction with Oxford University, receives regulatory approval. AstraZeneca had announced the intention to sell any COVID-19 vaccines ‘not-for-profit.’

However, the price-per-vaccine has not yet been disclosed. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) released a call ahead of the launch for the vaccine to be sold ‘at-cost,’ and for a price to be set as soon as possible.

“We won’t know whether a vaccine is indeed sold at “not-for-profit” prices if large manufacturers don’t make their investments and cost of goods as well as the final prices publicly available,” Manuel Martin, innovation & access advisor at MSF Access Campaign told Health Policy Watch.

The Gavi Covax AMC has an initial goal of raising US$ 2 billion; enough for Gavi-supported countries to immunise health care workers and high-risk individuals, as well as create a flexible buffer of doses to be deployed where needed most. 

The AMC model had been previously used to provide volume guarantees for the pneumococcal vaccine, giving producers incentive to scale up production and sell to low-income countries. Some US $177.5 million from the PCV advanced market commitment will be rolled over into COVAX.

The initiative is part of a broader COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (Covax Facility) that will be available for all countries to access.

Donors & Pharma Show Strong Support For Gavi

The top three historical donors, The United Kingdom, the United States, and Norway, each upped their contributions to Gavi in this funding round. 

Johnson kicked off the replenishment event with a £1.6. billion pledge from the UK. The United States pledge stands at US $1.16 billion, and Norway followed closely with a $1 billion commitment. 

“We know from our own experience that investing in vaccines is one of the best public health investments we can make, ” said Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg. “Norway was one of the founders of Gavi 20 years ago. We believed, and still believe in innovation and the mission to improve the world one vaccine at a time. We must continue to make sure no one is left behind.”

Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg

Among other major pledges, Germany committed €600 million; Canada committed CAD $600 million, Australia, and Japan pledged US $300 million, and Italy upped it’s pledge to €287.5 million.

China, meanwhile, contributed US $20 million, in stark comparison to its massive contribution at the World Health Assembly of US$2 billion towards the COVID-19 effort and to accelerate the completion of Africa’s CDC headquarters.

Leaders and executives from the pharmaceutical sector also voiced strong support for GAVI, and announced increased supply commitments for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Merck Sharpe&Dohme, Glaxosmithkline, Innovax, The Serum Institute of India, and Chinese vaccine manufacturer Walvax have pledged to ramp up HPV vaccine production to supply Gavi-supported countries with enough doses to vaccinate 84 million girls, an increase from a original commitment to vaccinate 50 million girls.

Pharma is working at “unprecedented levels of collaboration and speed”, said Director General of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (IFPMA) Thomas Cueni. “Thankfully, what is not unprecedented is the notion that collaborative efforts and partnerships can deliver and can transform lives. We will succeed by working openly.”

GSK CEO Emma Walmsley emphasized that “global, fair access to COVIDー19 vaccines is an absolute priority.” GSK leadership, along with executives from AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson announced their companies’ intentions to sell vaccines at a “no-profit” price last week.

“We do it not-for-profit for the pandemic period, as we want to [ensure] equitable access over the world…and especially to get vaccines to make sure we get a stop to the pandemic,” said CSO of Johnson & Johnson Paul Stoffels last week.

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