New capital commitments by donors, including governments and multilateral development banks, will help lower-income countries boost short-term COVID vaccinations under the COVAX programme, and procure their own vaccines in the future
A new wave of financing and guarantees has been pledged by donors to ensure low-cost COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in developing countries.
Representatives of donor countries and groups attending the online 2022 Break COVID Now Summit, co-hosted by Gavi earlier this month, pledged $4.8 billion of new commitments to help increase the supply of vaccines to lower-income countries in the short-term under the international vaccine-sharing COVAX programme, and to improve their ability to procure vaccines in future.
The commitments were made to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), the mechanism which supports equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for 92 lower-income countries.
The AMC has already provided over 1.2 billion Covid vaccine doses free of cost to qualifying countries, according to Gavi.
The pledged funding comprised $ 1.7 billion in new sovereign donor pledges towards 2022 AMC fundraising, $2.1 billion of commitments via financial mechanisms provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the US Development Finance Corporation, and at least $1 billion made available by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and EIB. Leading sovereign donor contributors include Japan, Germany and Canada.
Gavi says the funding will enable COVAX to provide urgent delivery support for lower-income countries and ensure vaccine dose donations can be shipped and administered.
Guarantees boost cost-sharing initiative
As part of this drive, Gavi, UK social finance company MedAccess and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) have also announced a partnership to create a risk sharing facility to support the COVAX Cost-Sharing Mechanism, which provides a vehicle for countries to buy additional doses at reduced cost. The mechanism is a partnership between Gavi, the World Bank, ADB and EIB,
The $200 million risk-sharing facility is intended to increase take-up of the Cost-Sharing Mechanism by reducing risk for Gavi when financing vaccine orders, thereby freeing up funds it would otherwise have to hold in reserve.
MedAccess is providing a $100 million procurement guarantee, with OSF providing a further $100 million guarantee via the Soros Economic Development Fund, which supports the OSF.
Although vaccine uptake has been slowly increasing in low-income countries, the poorest of which are in Africa, vaccination rates remain very low by global standards.
The World Health Organization said in early April that only around 16% of Africans – 209 million people – had been fully vaccinated. The WHO also said its analysis indicated up to 65% of Africans have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, 97 times more than officially reported.
However, it also noted that Africa was distinct from other regions due to its high number of asymptomatic cases, with 67% of cases having no symptoms.