Prime Minister Johnson, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dr. Seth Berkley, Mr. Bill Gates, Heads of Government, Excellencies, and distinguished panelists, I am delighted to be here to express the World Bank’s support for Gavi and its mission to expand access to life-saving vaccines for all living in the world’s poorest countries – a mission that remains critical during these unprecedented times. I would also like to thank the United Kingdom for its leadership in this agenda.
The humanitarian toll of COVID-19 is severe. Beyond the health crisis, we will see 60 million people pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 and millions more of the existing poor will experience even deeper deprivation – the first increase in global poverty since 1998.
How long the effects last will depend on our ability to protect people’s health, education and skills, and a COVID-19 vaccine is an essential part of this effort.
The COVID19 Vaccine Advanced Market Commitment facility (COVAX AMC) is critical for securing the upfront investment to deliver the vaccine at unprecedented scale and speed, once a COVID-19 vaccine is available.
We speak from experience. The Pneumococcal Vaccine AMC provides a proof of concept. The World Bank’s financial backstopping of long-term donor commitments, combined with financial management services, allowed us to leapfrog a decade or more in the delivery of the vaccine, reaching millions of children in the poorest countries with a life-saving vaccine.
Fair and equitable access to vaccines for all, especially the poor and vulnerable, is essential to altering the course of this devastating pandemic and allowing livelihoods and entire economies to be rebuilt.
That is why the World Bank is committed to working with Gavi on the COVAX AMC, and to ensuring that no one is left behind.