By Robert Egbe
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a $50 million commitment to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
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 immunize 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.
The funding and dose sharing commitments from donors is expected to accelerate equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines to fill an immediate need for vaccine doses in lower-income countries.