On June 4th, 2020, the UK hosted the replenishment of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, providing an the international community to realign with the ambitions of Agenda 2030 by scaling up immunisation efforts and “reaching those furthest behind”. In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, and considering the aspiration of SDG3 to achieving healthy lives and promoting well-being for all, now, more than ever, it is clear that ensuring affordable and equitable access to life-saving immunization services is of the utmost importance. That’s why we welcome the European Union’s ambitious pledge of 300 million euros.
Bringing together nearly 50 countries, the replenishment conference surpassed their goal of 7.4 billion and raised a total of 8.8 billion dollars for Gavi’s 2021-2025 cycle, an amount which will allow the alliance to achieve the targets outlined in its investment plan, and reach 300 million more children, saving an additional 7-8 million lives.
This funding will be crucial in light of the COVID-19 epidemic, which has disrupted routine immunisation services and created a new urgency for ensuring any future vaccines or treatments are equitably distributed – something Gavi is uniquely positioned to accomplish. With this new funding, Gavi will not only be about to ensure the continuation of routine immunization efforts that save lives, but catch up on delays. They will also be essential to help strengthen the health systems of countries, allowing them to better absorb shocks like the current crisis.
It is clear that Gavi’s actions on COVID-19 will push their budgetary needs above their initial calculation of $ 7.4 billion. For this reason, Gavi has announced the launch of an advanced market commitment for COVID-19 vaccines, which will accelerate the production and availability of vaccines against the disease at Covid-19. While we welcome this initiative, we stress that it must be accompanied by an inclusive governance structure, ensuring the participation of civil society and beneficiary countries, as well as a robust accountability and transparency framework. In addition, strict conditions on vaccine prices must be negotiated with pharmaceutical partners and intellectual property regulations must be adopted. The EU should support its Member States, like France, and show a strong political commitment to ensuring any future COVID-19 vaccine becomes a “global public good” that is equitably distributed.