The Global Vaccine Summit, hosted virtually by the United Kingdom on June 4, 2020, saw donors exceed the original request of US$7.4 billion with a final tally of US$10.5 billion for Gavi’s 2021–2025 replenishment period. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has increased its Gavi contributions, committing AU$300 million (US$208.9 million) to this replenishment period. The latest replenishment will enable Gavi to remain a valued technical partner as well as investor in the MDTF to Advance UHC.
The commitment expressed by the international donor community reflects the important role Gavi is playing now more than ever, by enabling universal health coverage (UHC) through increasing equitable use of vaccines in lower income countries. Gavi is working through its alliance partners to mitigate the disruption of essential health services and supply chains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, more than 80 million children globally are at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, measles and polio due to disruptions, particularly as they work to mitigate the secondary impact of COVID-19 by protecting essential services and vaccine financing. Gavi is working within the Global Action Plan (GAP) Health Financing Accelerator, with other partners, to build resilient, sustainable health systems.
In many of the poorest countries, vaccine-preventable illnesses still account for a large share of mortality and morbidity. Investing in immunization is one of the most cost-effective investments countries can make as they prioritize benefits packages for UHC and build human capital for a more prosperous, equitable future. For every dollar invested in vaccination in the world’s 94 lowest-income countries, US$16 are expected to be saved in healthcare costs, lost wages and lost productivity due to illness and death. The number rises to US$44 when we include broader economic benefits and the value given to living longer.
Gavi is even more critically needed in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and is already playing an important role in shaping markets for a new COVID-19 vaccine when it is available. The newly established COVID-19 Advance Market Commitment (the COVAX AMC) will focus on expanding vaccine access to the poorest countries. “The Gavi Covax AMC increases the likelihood that when we have a successful vaccine or vaccines, it will be available in sufficient quantities and affordable to developing countries,” says Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of Gavi Board.
Donors pledged US$600 million, including US$100 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to this innovative financing mechanism at the summit. These upfront commitments from donors will allow countries to share vaccine development costs and support scaled manufacturing and procurement of a COVID-19 vaccine once it is available. This will make the vaccine universally and equitably accessible for all.