Vaccine group Gavi secures $4.8 billion in funding pledges for COVAX

A National Guard member watches as a batch of AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, delivered under the COVAX program, is unloaded from a KLM Boeing 787 at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, Mexico , May 27, 2021. REUTERS/Henny Romero/File Photo

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GENEVA, April 8 (Reuters) – Global vaccine alliance Gavi secured $4.8 billion in funding pledges for the COVAX vaccine-sharing program, an official said on Friday, falling short of its target.

“It really puts us in a very comfortable position,” Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao, chief resource mobilization officer at Gavi, said during a virtual press briefing.

The group previously said it needed an additional $5.2 billion to continue providing COVID-19 vaccines at scale as part of its global program that provides vaccines to the poorest countries. Read more

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Saraka-Yao said $2.1 billion of the total came from innovative financing instruments, $1.7 billion from sovereign pledges from individual countries and $1 billion from multilateral development banks.

COVAX has so far delivered 1.42 billion doses to 145 countries. Scaling up deliveries through COVAX is seen as key to meeting the World Health Organization’s goal of vaccinating 70% of the population in the poorest countries by mid-2022.

Gavi CEO Seth Berkley said the program had enough vaccines and the main challenge was to help countries increase their storage and distribution capacity. “It’s something we’re working hard on now. And that’s where this critical injection of capital will make a big difference,” he said.

Reuters reported in February that COVAX was struggling to place more than 300 million doses.

German Development Minister Svenja Schulze said at Friday’s briefing that the country would contribute 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) this year to the so-called Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT -A), which includes vaccines as well as tests and treatments.

“This means that Germany will once again bring its fair share to ACT A, showing our commitment to advancing global solutions to global challenges,” Schulze said.

($1 = 0.9221 euros)

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Reporting by Mrinalika Roy and Emma Farge; Editing by David Holmes

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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