San Francisco, June 2: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday pledged $50 million to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to increase access to safe and affordable Covid-19 vaccines in 92 lower-income countries.
The foundation also called for high-income countries to share at least 1 billion excess Covid-19 doses with lower-income countries this year to accelerate global vaccine access and save lives.
The pledge was announced at Gavi’s COVAX AMC Summit, co-hosted by the government of Japan and Gavi.
“The world must urgently come together to expand equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, or we risk more deaths and the emergence of new variants that could prolong the pandemic for everyone,” Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said.
High-income countries have reserved more Covid-19 vaccines than they need, and thus can be part of a critical effort to accelerate global vaccine access by sharing excess doses, without compromising their own vaccination efforts.
This will allow lower-income countries to immunise hundreds of millions of health workers and at-risk people this year -- saving lives, reducing the risk of new variants emerging, and helping control the pandemic, the foundation said in a statement. The latest announcement builds on $156 million in previous commitments by the foundation to the COVAX AMC. The foundation’s total commitment to the Covid-19 response is now more than $1.8 billion. The COVAX AMC is part of the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).