Gavi Board approves new push to reach unvaccinated children worldwide

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Gavi Board approves new push to reach unvaccinated children worldwide
:: Gavi Board approves more than US$ 600 million in new funding to help accelerate efforts to reach ‘zero-dose’ and under-immunised children in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic
:: The Board also made several key decisions related to the COVAX Facility, including the approval of a package of support for India
:: The Board approved a Risk and Assurance report and discussed risk strategies for the COVAX Facility, ensuring key risks associated with this unprecedented global effort are fully assessed and mitigated ahead of time

Geneva, 17 December 2020 – The Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance has approved an increase in funding of more than US$ 600 million over the next five years to help reach the millions of children still not receiving routine vaccines in Gavi-supported countries.

Over 50% more children were immunised in 68 of the world’s poorest countries in 2019 than in 2000, yet 10.6 million children in Gavi-supported countries still miss out on even a single dose of basic, routine vaccinations every year – a figure which is at risk of increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of all deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases in Gavi-supported countries occur among these ‘zero-dose’ children, although they account for only 13% of children.

Gavi will increase its support for health systems in lower-income countries by US$ 500 million in the 2021-25 period to a total of US$ 1.7 billion. In addition it will increase its support to improve the capacity of key Alliance partners, such as WHO and UNICEF, by US$ 128 million.

“As we rightly focus on the fight against COVID-19, we cannot afford to take our eyes off the ball when it comes to other deadly, preventable diseases,” said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Gavi Board. “We have made incredible progress in the past two decades boosting access to lifesaving vaccines in the world’s poorest countries, yet too many children are still missing out. The cost to reach each of these ‘zero-dose’ children can be three to four times higher than those who are already being immunised, which is why this new funding will be so vital.”…


Further outcomes of the Gavi Board meeting
As well as new funding to help reach unvaccinated children, several other decisions were made during the three-day virtual Board meeting, including many regarding efforts to ensure equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

:: The Gavi Board approved a number of measures to strengthen the COVAX Facility – the global effort to ensure the equitable, rapid distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. These include:
:: A tailored package of support for India. The Board agreed that India will receive approximately 20% of the total doses available to AMC-eligible countries through the COVAX Facility – estimated at between 190 and 250 million fully-subsidised doses – subject to vaccine prices and available funds. The country will also receive 20% of the total funding available to AMC-eligible countries for urgent technical assistance and cold chain equipment, or US$ 30 million. This tailored support takes into account the country’s disease burden and related mortality, subnational inequities and a growing economic crisis on one hand, and the country’s population size and its role as a global vaccine supplier on the other.
:: An envelope of US $150 million to provide exceptional support, if required and on a case-by-case basis, to AMC-eligible countries to address critical COVID-19 vaccine delivery gaps for which no other funding is available, subject to this funding being mobilised from AMC donors. This is in addition to the US$ 150 million already approved to support improvements to cold chain infrastructure and technical assistance to support the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines.
:: A Risk and Assurance report looking ahead to key risks Gavi is set to face in 2021. This includes key risks associated with the COVAX Facility. Gavi takes a strongly proactive approach to assessing and mitigating risk – an exercise which takes on all the more importance with a project of the scale and ambition of COVAX. Gavi will now work with partners on a set of strong risk mitigation measures to ensure the success of the Facility.

:: In addition, the Board approved an approach to middle-income countries to prevent backsliding in vaccine coverage in countries that have transitioned out of Gavi support, as well as to drive the sustainable introduction of key missing vaccines in both former Gavi-eligible countries and never Gavi-eligible Lower- Middle countries and other IDA eligible middle income economies. Gavi will make US$ 281 million available for this purpose during the 2021 to 2025 period, with specific targeted engagement over the next 18 months…