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Bill Gates pledges $50m COVID-19 vaccines for Nigeria, others

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By Robert Egbe

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a $50 million commitment to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, it was learnt on Wednesday.

The pledge will support COVID-19 vaccine purchase through Gavi’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) as well as delivery of these vaccines to Nigeria and 91 lower-income countries.

The announcement builds on $156 million in previous commitments by the foundation to the COVAX AMC. The foundation’s total commitment to the COVID-19 response is now more than $1.8 billion.

The pledge was announced at Gavi’s COVAX AMC Summit, an event co-hosted by the government of Japan and Gavi that gathered world leaders, the private sector, civil society and technical partners to build support to procure COVID-19 vaccines and equitably distribute them to lower-income countries.

“The world must urgently come together to expand equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, or we risk more deaths and the emergence of new variants that could prolong the pandemic for everyone,” said Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Thanks to today’s contributions, especially Japan’s generous pledge and its leadership in global health, we’ve taken an important step towards that goal. This summit is a powerful example of what can be achieved when we act collectively to control the pandemic and save lives.”

The foundation urged high-income countries to share at least 1 billion excess COVID-19 vaccines with lower-income countries as soon as possible.

High-income countries have reserved more COVID-19 vaccines than they need, and thus can be part of a critical effort to accelerate global vaccine access by sharing excess doses, without compromising their own vaccination efforts.

This will allow?lower-income countries to immunise hundreds of millions of health workers and at-risk people this year—saving lives, reducing the risk of new variants emerging, and helping control the pandemic.???

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