COVAX welcomes dose sharing commitments for 870 million additional doses to support equitable access to vaccines in 2021 and 2022, with the aim to deliver at least half by the end of 2021.
The G7 has committed one billion doses since the February 2021 virtual G7 Early Leaders' Summit, including pledges made at the G20 Global Health Summit hosted by Prime Minister Draghi and President von der Leyen and the Gavi COVAX AMC Summit hosted by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan.
COVAX partners applaud G7 leaders' support for global public health.
In a landmark agreement at the G7 summit, held in Cornwall, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, global leaders have pledged to share COVID-19 vaccine doses internationally, in support of global equitable access and to help end the acute phase of the pandemic.
Building on the momentum of the G20 Global Health Summit hosted by Prime Minister Draghi and President von der Leyen and the Gavi COVAX AMC Summit hosted by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan, G7 countries committed to share at least 870 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines directly, with the aim to deliver at least half by the end of 2021, and reaffirmed their support for COVAX as "the primary route for providing vaccines to the poorest countries."
COVAX partners welcome this commitment, along with continued support for exporting in significant proportions, promotion of voluntary licensing and not-for-profit global production. COVAX looks forward to seeing doses flowing to countries as soon as possible. Facing an urgent supply gap, COVAX is focused on securing as many shared doses as possible immediately, as the third quarter of this year is when the gap between deliveries and countries' ability to absorb doses will be greatest. COVAX will work with the G7 and other countries that have stepped up to share doses as rapidly and equitably as possible. This will help address short-term supply constraints currently impacting the global response to COVID-19 and minimize the prospect of future deadly variants.
In anticipation of the large volumes available through the COVAX Facility deals portfolio later in the year, COVAX also urges multilateral development banks to urgently release funding to help countries prepare their health systems for large-scale rollout of vaccines in the coming months.
"This is an important moment of global solidarity and a critical milestone in the push to ensure those most at risk, everywhere are protected," said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi). "As we strive towards our goal of ending the acute phase of the pandemic, we look forward to working with countries to ensure these doses pledged are quickly turned into doses delivered."
"This is an historic moment - as leaders of some of the wealthiest counties come together to ensure that all parts of the world have access to life saving vaccines," Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), added. "This pandemic has shown us that we cannot set national against international interests. With a disease like COVID-19 we have to ensure that we get it under control everywhere. There is still much to do to get vaccines in arms and ensure our R&D allows us to stay one step ahead of the virus. But for today we give pause and celebrate a watershed moment of political alignment and collaboration."
Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, said: "We have reached a grim milestone in this pandemic: There are already more dead from COVID-19 in 2021 than in all of last year. Without urgent action, this devastation will continue. Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines represents the clearest pathway out of this pandemic for all of us - children included. UNICEF thanks G7 member states for their significant pledges and continued support. However, much work remains to continue to ramp up both the amount and the pace of supply to the rest of the world, because when it comes to ending the COVID-19 pandemic, our best interests and our best natures align. This crisis will not be over until it is over for everyone."
WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stressed: "Many other countries are now facing a surge in cases - and they are facing it without vaccines. We are in the race of our lives, but it's not a fair race, and most countries have barely left the starting line. We welcome the generous announcements about donations of vaccines and thank leaders. But we need more, and we need them faster."
"Africa's current vaccine supply shortage risks prolonging the pandemic, not just for millions on the continent, but for the whole world," said Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, AMREF Health Africa. "I applaud the Group of Seven's leadership in sharing doses with COVAX and urge them - and others to share doses now, not later in the year, when our need is greatest."
Notes to editors
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-convened by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) - working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.
CEPI's role in COVAX
CEPI is leading on the COVAX vaccine research and development portfolio, investing in R&D across a variety of promising candidates, with the goal to support development of three safe and effective vaccines which can be made available to countries participating in the COVAX Facility. As part of this work, CEPI has secured first right of refusal to potentially over one billion doses for the COVAX Facility to a number of candidates, and made strategic investments in vaccine manufacturing, which includes reserving capacity to manufacture doses of COVAX vaccines at a network of facilities, and securing glass vials to hold 2 billion doses of vaccine. CEPI is also investing in the 'next generation' of vaccine candidates, which will give the world additional options to control COVID-19 in the future.
Gavi's role in COVAX
Gavi leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX: designing and managing the COVAX Facility and the Gavi COVAX AMC and working with its traditional Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery. As part of this role, Gavi hosts the Office of the COVAX Facility to coordinate the operation and governance of the mechanism as a whole, holds financial and legal relationships with 193 Facility participants, and manages the COVAX Facility deals portfolio: negotiating advance purchase agreements with manufacturers of promising vaccine candidates to secure doses on behalf of all COVAX Facility participants. Gavi also coordinates design, operationalisation and fundraising for the Gavi COVAX AMC, the mechanism that provides access to donor-funded doses of vaccine to 92 lower-income economies. As part of this work, Gavi provides funding and oversight for UNICEF procurement and delivery of vaccines to all AMC participants - operationalising the advance purchase agreements between Gavi and manufacturers - as well as support for partners' and governments work on readiness and delivery. This includes tailored support to governments, UNICEF, WHO and other partners for cold chain equipment, technical assistance, syringes, vehicles, and other aspects of the vastly complex logistical operation for delivery. Gavi also co-designed, raises funds for and supports the operationalisation of the AMC's no fault compensation mechanism as well as the COVAX Humanitarian Buffer.
WHO's role in COVAX
WHO has multiple roles within COVAX: It provides normative guidance on vaccine policy, regulation, safety, R&D, allocation, and country readiness and delivery. Its Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization develops evidence-based immunization policy recommendations. Its Emergency Use Listing (EUL) / prequalification programmes ensure harmonized review and authorization across member states. It provides global coordination and member state support on vaccine safety monitoring. It developed the target product profiles for COVID-19 vaccines and provides R&D technical coordination. WHO leads, together with UNICEF, the Country Readiness and Delivery workstream, which provides support to countries as they prepare to receive and administer vaccines. Along with Gavi and numerous other partners working at the global, regional, and country-level, the CRD workstream provides tools, guidance, monitoring, and on the ground technical assistance for the planning and roll-out of the vaccines. Along with COVAX partners, WHO has developed a no-fault compensation scheme as part of the time-limited indemnification and liability commitments
UNICEF's role in COVAX
UNICEF is leveraging its experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world and working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as freight, logistics and storage. UNICEF already procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for routine immunisation and outbreak response on behalf of nearly 100 countries. In collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply doses of COVID-19 vaccines for COVAX. In addition, UNICEF, Gavi and WHO are working with governments around the clock to ensure that countries are ready to receive the vaccines, with appropriate cold chain equipment in place and health workers trained to dispense them. UNICEF is also playing a lead role in efforts to foster trust in vaccines, delivering vaccine confidence communications and tracking and addressing misinformation around the world.
The Access to COVID-19 Tools ACT-Accelerator, is a new, ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March and launched by the WHO, European Commission, France and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020.
The ACT-Accelerator is not a decision-making body or a new organisation, but works to speed up collaborative efforts among existing organisations to end the pandemic. It is a framework for collaboration that has been designed to bring key players around the table with the goal of ending the pandemic as quickly as possible through the accelerated development, equitable allocation, and scaled up delivery of tests, treatments and vaccines, thereby protecting health systems and restoring societies and economies in the near term. It draws on the experience of leading global health organisations which are tackling the world's toughest health challenges, and who, by working together, are able to unlock new and more ambitious results against COVID-19. Its members share a commitment to ensure all people have access to all the tools needed to defeat COVID-19 and to work with unprecedented levels of partnership to achieve it.
The ACT-Accelerator has four areas of work: diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines and the health system connector. Cross-cutting all of these is the workstream on Access & Allocation.