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.


New Filipino military chief vows to enforce controversial anti-terror law

Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay. (Supplied)
Updated 03 August 2020

New Filipino military chief vows to enforce controversial anti-terror law

  • Gapay said his priority would be to bring an end to the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, based primarily in rural areas

MANILA: The new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, on Monday assumed office with a vow to enforce the country’s recently enacted anti-terrorism law.
The controversial legislation took effect last month, despite legal challenges at the Supreme Court to stop its implementation.
It criminalizes acts that incite terrorism “by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners, or other representations.” The new law also grants authorities broad powers to wiretap and tag individuals and groups as terrorists and detain them without charge for up to 24 days.
“We will capitalize on this very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is proactive, and it is geared to prevent occurrence of terroristic acts,” Gapay said in his first speech as army chief.
He called on Filipinos to support the military because beside dealing with terrorism and communist insurgency, the country now faced an unseen enemy in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The army, he said, was helping the government contain the deadly virus which had infected more than 100,000 people in the Philippines and claimed at least 2,100 lives.

We will capitalize on this very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is proactive, and it is geared to prevent occurrence of terroristic acts.

Lieutenant General Gilbert I. Gapay, Commanding general, Philippine Army

Gapay said his priority would be to bring an end to the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, based primarily in rural areas — and local terrorist groups — Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and factions of the Daulah Islamiyah — that operate mainly in the country’s south.
“There will be no let up as we continue to be at the forefront confronting all these threats. We are trained for this but still we need the support of other agencies; we need the support of our fellow Filipinos,” Gapay added.
He said the army would continue to collaborate with partner agencies and foreign counterparts in addressing domestic and regional threats, adding that it would suggest provisions to the rules and regulations of the new law to enhance intelligence sharing and strengthen maritime security to deter foreign terrorists from entering the country through its porous sea borders.
Prior to his appointment, Gapay, who replaces the retiring Gen. Felimon T. Santos, Jr., served as the 61st army commander.