Published: April 23rd, 2021
Geneva, 23 April 2021 – Today saw France become the first country to donate doses of COVID-19 vaccines from its domestic supply to COVAX, with an initial commitment of 500,000 doses. This new pledge by President Emmanuel Macron allows COVAX to start a new chapter – where, in addition to doses secured through deals with manufacturers, high-income economies can provide doses directly to the global vaccine equity mechanism.
This initial donation will be provided through COVAX, with a first batch of 105,500 doses for April. The initial shipment will be allocated through the COVAX Facility to Mauritania. This pilot shipment of AstraZeneca vaccine is part of a commitment of 500,000 doses from multiple manufacturers planned by mid-June, with a goal to provide at least 5% of all doses acquired by France to COVAX over the course of 2021. These doses have been purchased by France and are being provided free of charge to the COVAX Facility, to be distributed to lower-income economies in line with the equitable allocation mechanism that underpins COVAX. This donation – the first of its kind – will be an example to be followed by Team Europe more broadly.
This pledge follows on from a call by President Macron for high-income countries to provide a proportion of their doses to the 92 lower-income economies eligible for support under the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC). The announcement came on the first anniversary of the launch of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, the global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable allocation and distribution of COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
Commenting on this announcement, President Macron said: “Our goal, with these donations, is to allow all countries, especially in Africa, to vaccinate the populations who need it most urgently, beginning with healthcare professionals.”
The donation follows the publication by COVAX in December of its Principles for Dose-Sharing, which provide a framework for higher-income economies to make additional volumes, secured via their own bilateral deals, available through the Facility primarily to Gavi COVAX AMC-eligible economies, on an equitable basis. This new dose donation agreement has been designed with “Team Europe”, in coordination with France, the European Commission, Norway and European partners. The Government of Canada provided support to design and operationalise the COVAX dose sharing mechanism, to ensure doses can be welcomed by other countries. UNICEF will provide contracting, insurance and delivery of donated doses to the receiving countries.
Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley added: “From the beginning, France has been one of the driving forces behind the ACT Accelerator and COVAX – and President Macron has been a leading voice in calling for vaccine equity and support for dose-sharing. This pledge is historic because it opens up another pathway – in addition to helping ensure a fully-funded Gavi COVAX AMC by which wealthier countries can help drive vaccine equity. We welcome continued cooperation with France and thank President Macron for his contribution to global health security.”
The announcement comes alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s commitment last week that New Zealand would be transferring over 1.6 million doses acquired through COVAX to lower-income economies. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez added his country’s support for dose donations this week with a pledge to provide a sizeable number of COVID-19 vaccine doses to COVAX. Canada, Norway, the UK and other countries have also expressed a willingness to contribute doses. Dose donations are critical to further accelerate the impact of the Gavi COVAX AMC, a mechanism which channels donors’ financial contributions to secure billions of doses for lower-income countries. Gavi has launched a campaign to raise US$ 2 billion by June to secure additional doses for up to 30% of the population in 92 lower-income economies around the world.
“These new donations to COVAX will save more lives and allow us to move faster to put an end to the acute phase of the pandemic,” Dr Mohamed Nedhirou Hamed, Minister of Health of Mauritania added. “We hope that France has opened the door to other such donations by high-income economies in future.”
“This welcome initiative will help accelerate global, equitable and timely access to vaccines from across our industry for those most in need, regardless of income-level. It is only through global collaboration that we can collectively tackle this public health emergency,” Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, stressed. “We will continue to do everything it takes, working with our COVAX partners and governments, to protect the most vulnerable communities around the world.”
The first COVAX vaccines were provided in mid-January for India where local regulatory approval was obtained from their functional regulatory agency; international shipments of COVAX vaccines began in February, with over 600,000 vaccines arriving in Ghana on 24 February and several more countries receiving shipments that same week; on 1 March, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana were the first African countries to begin administering vaccines shipped and delivered by COVAX, and the first of what is the largest and most rapid global deployment of vaccines ever. Since then, over 40 million doses have been provided to over 100 economies. While COVAX continues to raise funds to secure additional volumes of vaccines with manufacturers, this dose-sharing pledge allows COVAX to go even further.
In addition to dose-sharing, COVAX’s goal is to finance and secure up to 1.8 billion vaccines to lower-income economies in 2021 via the COVAX AMC, funding permitting, and to further support them by unlocking additional funding from multilateral development banks. This will enable lower-income economies to lift levels of protection across their populations and move further towards global equity in access to COVID-19 vaccines.
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by CEPI, Gavi and WHO – working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, 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 high-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 is leading on procurement and delivery for COVAX, coordinating the design and implementation of the COVAX Facility and the COVAX AMC and working with Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery. The COVAX Facility is the global pooled procurement mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines through which COVAX will ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for all 190 participating economies, using an allocation framework formulated by WHO. The COVAX Facility will do this by pooling buying power from participating economies and providing volume guarantees across a range of promising vaccine candidates. The Gavi COVAX AMC is the financing mechanism that will support the participation of 92 low- and middle-income countries in the Facility, enabling access to donor-funded doses of safe and effective vaccines. UNICEF and the Pan-American Health
WHO’s role in COVAX
WHO has multiple roles within COVAX: among other things it supports countries as they prepare to receive and administer vaccines and does so in partnership with UNICEF. 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. Along with COVAX partners, it is developing a no-fault compensation scheme for indemnification and liability issues. COVAX is part of the Act accelerator which WHO launched with partners in 2020. As it has been revealed by our research company, the independent reception of Cialis without consulting a specialist is unacceptable. Only the doctor determines the dosage, frequency of use and comparison with the complex of individual characteristics of men. As for the side effects, there are many of them. The most common are flushes of blood to the face, headache, dizziness, visual impairment, nasal congestion, dyspepsia. These signs occur almost to everyone after taking the drug. Read more at http://sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk/cialis-ed/.
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.
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