Corona Vaccines

World leaders pledge equitable access

Diplomatic Correspondent

5 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

World leaders joined forces at the “One World Protected” - Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) Summit hosted by Japan and Gavi raised US$ 2.4 billion from 40 donor governments and private sectors, exceeding the funding target and bringing the total pledged to COVAX AMC to US$ 9.6 billion.

Japan demonstrated its commitment to ending the acute phase of the pandemic by pledging US$ 800 million at the Summit, making their total contribution to the COVAX AMC US$ 1 billion.

The funds raised will enable Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to secure 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for lower-income countries participating in the COVAX Facility. The vaccines, to be delivered in 2021 and early 2022, will enable COVAX to protect almost 30 percent of the population in 91 AMC economies.

In addition, five countries made new commitments to donate more than 54 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries, including through COVAX, to bridge short-term supply challenges. This brings the total number of doses shared to more than 132 million.

Suga Yoshihide, Prime Minister of Japan, said: “I made the decision on our contribution, hoping to deliver vaccines, a ray of hope, to as many people as possible, and as early as possible, throughout the world, in an equitable manner. It is our responsibility to overcome the current pandemic crisis and prepare for future health crises, thereby leading the world to ‘build back better’.”

José Manuel Barroso, Chair, Gavi Board, said: “Thanks to all our donors, we can now protect not only health care workers, the elderly and other vulnerable people but broader sections of the population, increasing our chances further of bringing the pandemic under control.”

Participants in the Summit include leaders and ministers from about 40 countries including Ms. Kamala Harris, Vice President of the USA, UN Secretary General António Guterres and other heads of international organizations such as the WHO and representatives from civil society and the private companies such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Japanese Prime Minister Suga called for further solidarity and commitments from the international community in the fight against COVID-19, and expressed Japan’s full support for ensuring equitable access to safe and effective vaccines for as many people as possible with a view to achieving Universal Health Coverage guided by the principle of human security.

Prime Minister Suga also explained that Japan has continuously supported the efforts by the COVAX Facility, including through its financial contribution amounting to 200 million USD, and announced Japan’s additional contribution of 800 million USD.

The Japanese Prime Minister expressed Japan’s intention to provide, when circumstances allow and at an appropriate time, around 30 million doses of vaccines manufactured in Japan to other countries and regions, including through the COVAX Facility.

In this context, as one of the largest contributors to the COVAX Facility, Japan welcomes the arrival of 106,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to Bangladesh on May 31, which was made possible through the COVAX AMC.

“Japan will continue to cooperate with Bangladesh to suppress the spread of the COVID-19 and overcome this unprecedented crisis,” said a press release of the Japanese Embassy in Dhaka.