It is a pleasure to be participating in today’s COVAX AMC Summit.
The World Bank has partnered with Gavi for many years and values its work to strengthen immunization services. We also recognize that Gavi’s support to immunization contributes greatly to the strengthening of primary health care and health systems – support that is so badly needed in the world’s poorest countries.
Over the last two years, we have partnered with Gavi on COVAX, towards ending the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, we have found new ways of working together – in support of countries -- that benefit from our comparative advantages:
- In order to increase COVID-19 vaccine supplies to AMC countries, we worked together to develop a new financing mechanism that allows AMC countries to purchase doses -- beyond the fully donor-subsidized doses they are already receiving from COVAX – using World Bank financing. Under this “cost-sharing” mechanism, 12 countries have secured almost 20million vaccine doses.
- In order to accelerate the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, our teams are working together to support governments in addressing deployment bottlenecks. We coordinate closely at global and country levels, under the COVID-19 Delivery Partnership. In Kenya, for example, World Bank financing, together with COVAX COVID-19 Delivery Support financing, supported a February campaign that resulted in a more-than-twofold increase in vaccination rate.
While vaccine supplies to AMC countries have recently increased, we agree that new, more virulent strains of the virus remain a risk, so having contingency is important. We continue to support countries to access World Bank financing, which will be available to purchase more doses through the cost-sharing mechanism, should they choose to.
Looking forward, we can reflect on many of the lessons from COVAX and other innovative mechanisms and integrate these into an even stronger Gavi Alliance. This will allow us to regain momentum towards ensuring equitable access to both COVID-19 vaccines and routine immunizations, in particular in low-income countries and within vulnerable communities.
COVID-19 has also reminded us that strong health systems, and strong immunization capacity will be critical as countries prepare for any future pandemics.
We look forward to continuing our work together and strengthening our partnership with Gavi as we support countries to build resilient health systems for the future.