Speaking at the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu unveiled a commitment of US$ 130 million to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (COVAX AMC), a financing mechanism that will reserve and accelerate safe and efficient vaccines against covid-19 to countries across the Global South.
“We are thrilled to see the Government of Japan make this significant pledge, which builds on their position as one of the world’s leading supporters of global health and immunization, as they exemplified by joining the self-funding part of the COVAX facility ahead of other participants” said Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in a press release on Thursday.
“We will not defeat this pandemic until we defeat it everywhere. This vital funding not only helps us ensure lower-income countries aren’t left at the back of the queue when safe and effective covid-19 vaccines become available, it will also play a vital role in ending the acute phase of this pandemic worldwide," he stated.
In order to reserve and access one billion doses for AMC-eligible economies, the Gavi COVAX AMC has set an initial fundraising goal of US$2 billion by the end of 2020 to reserve and accelerate doses.
Gavi has now reached US$1.8 billion in contributions and pledges from sovereign donors, the private sector, and philanthropic sources.
The funding will be used to support the procurement of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for 92 AMC-eligible countries, which include all economies with Gross National Income (GNI) per capita under US$ 4,000 plus other World Bank International Development Association (IDA)-eligible economies, including countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia.
At least US$ 5 billion more is needed in 2021 to procure doses as they come through the portfolio.
“In order to tackle the covid-19 pandemic, it is important to aim at ‘leaving no one’s health behind’ and achieve UHC, while taking a stand for the principle of ‘human security.’ Japan has led the global support quickly and proactively to achieve UHC” said the Japanese Foreign Minister.
“Today, I would like to announce that Japan will contribute more than 130 million USD for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), in order to enable lower income countries to reinforce equitable access to covid-19 vaccines," he added.
Alongside the 92 low- and middle-income economies eligible for support by the Gavi COVAX AMC, 77 higher-income economies, which will finance their own vaccines, have now joined the COVAX Facility, a global effort to ensure rapid and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the most vulnerable groups across the world. Including the 92 AMC-eligible economies this means that 168 economies are now engaged with the Facility. Gavi manages the Office of the COVAX Facility, which oversees administration and coordination of the Facility.
The COVAX Facility is part of COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. COVAX is coordinated by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working alongside developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, Civil Society Organisations and others. It aims to ensure availability of COVID-19 vaccines for populations around the world, regardless of financial means.