Economies Worldwide Join COVAX Facility: Global Response to COVID-19
To ensure eventual COVID-19 vaccines reach those in greatest need, whoever they are and wherever they live, the global initiative that brings together governments and manufacturers, COVAX Facility now has 64 higher-income economies signed up. These 64 economies include commitments from 35 economies along with the European Commission which will obtain doses on behalf of Norway and Iceland plus 27 EU member states.
These participating economies will be able to secure successful vaccines in a cost-effective, targeted way and insure themselves against the failure of any individual vaccine candidate by pooling financial and scientific resources.
Through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), 92 low- and middle-income economies eligible for support for the procurement of vaccines and will join the 64 members of the Facility. With this, around 156 economies, with more to follow, are now either committed to or eligible for the COVAX Facility, representing roughly 64% of the global population in total.
The CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is coordinating the COVAX Facility, Dr. Seth Berkley said, “Governments from every continent have chosen to work together, to help ensure that vaccines are available to the most vulnerable everywhere along with securing vaccines for their own populations, thus, COVAX is now in business. Once safe, effective vaccines become available, we now stand a far better chance of ending the acute phase of this pandemic.”
The COVAX Facility is part of COVAX, a mechanism set up by the WHO and one of the vaccines pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. COVAX Facility is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, Civil Society Organisations, the World Bank, UNICEF, and more.
An Allocation Framework released by WHO will guide the allocation of vaccines, once licensed and approved, ensuring no participating economy will be left behind, and following the principle of fair and equitable access. Recommendations from the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), which has recently released a Values Framework laying the groundwork for subsequent guidance on target populations and policies on vaccine use will guide the policies determining the prioritization of vaccine rollout within economies.
The commitment of fully self-financing economies can secure the doses needed for the Facility by unlocking vital funding and the security of demand needed to scale up manufacturing. Leading COVAX vaccine research and development work, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations aims to develop at least three effective and safe vaccines that can be made available to economies participating in the COVAX Facility. There are now eight vaccines currently in clinical trials out of the nine candidate vaccines that are being supported by CEPI.
CEO of CEPI, Dr. Richard Hatchett said, “With the international community coming together to tackle this pandemic, this is a landmark moment in the history of public health. We can hope to end this pandemic only through equitable and simultaneous access to new lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines. A unity of purpose and resolve to end the acute phase of this pandemic is seen with countries coming together in this way. In order to put in place the agreements needed to fulfill COVAX’s core aim: to have two billion vaccine doses available by the end of 2021, we must now work closely with vaccine manufacturers—who play an integral part in the global response.”
Funds: So far, around US$ 1.4 billion have been committed towards vaccine R&D by governments, vaccine manufacturers (in addition to their own R&D), organizations, and individuals, however, in order to continue to move the portfolio forward in addition to US$ 300 million to fund WHO’s SOLIDARITY trial, a further US$ 700-800 million is urgently needed.
With an initial target of US$ 2 billion in seed funding needed by the end of 2020, around US$ 700 million has been raised by the Gavi COVAX AMC from sovereign donors as well as philanthropy and the private sector. To ensure that the ability to pay is not a barrier to accessing COVID-19 vaccines, funding the Gavi COVAX AMC will be critical.
In order to secure two billion doses of vaccine, enough to vaccinate one billion people assuming the vaccine requires a two-dose regimen, these funds will be used to accelerate the scale-up of vaccine manufacturing.
Economies Worldwide Join COVAX Facility: Global response to COVID-19