Vaccines group raises $8.8bn for immunization plans for poor countries

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in the Global Vaccine Summit (GAVI) via Zoom from the White Room of 10 Downing Street in London, Britain June 4, 2020. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 05 June 2020

Vaccines group raises $8.8bn for immunization plans for poor countries

  • At a funding summit in London, GAVI said the pledges had exceeded its target of $7.4 billion
  • The money will "help immunise 300 million more children in the world's poorest countries against diseases like measles, polio and diphtheria"

LONDON: The GAVI vaccines alliance said on Thursday it had raised $8.8 billion from international donor governments, companies and philanthropic foundations to fund its immunisation programmes through to 2025.
At a funding summit in London, GAVI said the pledges had exceeded its target of $7.4 billion, and would "help immunise 300 million more children in the world's poorest countries against diseases like measles, polio and diphtheria".
The vaccines alliance also said it had raised $567 million towards an initial goal of $2 billion from international donors for an Advanced Market Commitment to buy future COVID-19 vaccines for poor countries.
The deal would help secure enough COVID-19 vaccine doses - when the shots have been developed - for poor countries to immunise healthcare workers and those at high risk, it said, as well as creating a "buffer of doses" for use when needed.
GAVI, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations children's fund UNICEF have warned that 80 million children under the age of one are at risk of disease due to disruptions to vital immunisation programmes because of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the new coronavirus.
Britain, which hosted the summit, was among the largest donor to GAVI's core $8.8 billion funding, pledging the equivalent of 330 million pounds ($416 million) per year over the next five years, GAVI said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said GAVI could count on the UK's full contribution to help "the triumph of humanity over disease, now and for the generations that follow".
Other top donors included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which gave $1.6 billion for the period up to 2025, and the governments of Norway, Germany and the United States.
"To beat the COVID-19 pandemic, the world needs more than breakthrough science. It needs breakthrough generosity. And that’s what we’re seeing today as leaders across the public and private sectors are stepping up to support GAVI," Bill Gates, co-chair of the philanthropic Gates Foundation, told the summit.
He added that when COVID-19 vaccines are ready, the AMC funding would ensure people all over the world can access them.
GAVI said eight of the government donors were countries making their first ever pledge to the vaccines alliance: These were Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Finland, Greece, New Zealand, Portugal and Uganda.
GAVI is a public-private partnership backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the WHO, the World Bank, UNICEF and others, which arranges bulk buys to reduce vaccine costs for poor countries.


Germany already dealing with second coronavirus wave

Updated 28 min 22 sec ago

Germany already dealing with second coronavirus wave

  • The number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases has ticked up steadily in recent weeks
  • The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 879 to 211,281
BERLIN: Germany is already contending with a second wave of the coronavirus and risks squandering its early success by flouting social distancing rules, the head of the German doctors’ union said in a newspaper interview published on Tuesday.
The number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases has ticked up steadily in recent weeks, with health experts warning lax adherence to hygiene and distancing rules among some of the public is spreading the virus across communities.
“We are already in a second, shallow upswing,” Susanne Johna, president of Marburger Bund, which represents doctors in Germany, told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.
She said there was a danger that a longing to return to normality and a suppression of containment measures would fritter away the success Germany had achieved so far, urging people to stick to social distancing and hygiene rules and wear masks.
Europe’s biggest economy has so far withstood the pandemic with far fewer deaths than some large neighbors like France and Italy, owing to widespread testing, a well-equipped health care system and good adherence to social distancing.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 879 to 211,281, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The reported death toll rose by eight to 9,156, the tally showed.
Johna said hospitals were prepared and would make intensive care beds available to COVID-19 patients on a staggered basis, while at the same time gradually reducing the number of planned admissions to normal wards.
According to the DIVI intensive care register there are almost 21,000 intensive care beds in Germany, of which some 12,200 are currently free. As of Monday, there were 270 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, of whom 130 were being ventilated.