France makes important vaccine dose donation to COVAX

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COVID 19 Vaccines – Equity/Access

France makes important vaccine dose donation to COVAX
:: Today, to mark the first year of the creation of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, President Emmanuel Macron announced that France has begun sharing vaccine doses with COVAX, starting with a first batch of 105,600 doses – with 500,000 by the middle of June. These doses are provided free of charge to the COVAX AMC.

:: This is the first donation of doses acquired by a high-income country to COVAX, and launches Team Europe’s dose sharing through COVAX, with France becoming the first EU Member State to activate this mechanism.

:: France will ramp its commitment up to at least 5% of its total doses by the end of 2021. A number of other countries have expressed willingness to share vaccine doses with COVAX. President Macron has called on all G7 and high-income countries to follow suit.

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 high-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 dose donation mechanism has been designed with “Team Europe”, in coordination with France, the European Commission, Norway and European partners. The Government of Canada provided support to 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…

 

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PRINCIPLES FOR SHARING COVID-19 VACCINE DOSES WITH COVAX
COVAX 18 December 2020
[Excerpt]
Given the increasing number of emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines by stringent regulatory authorities (SRAs), some countries have secured sufficient doses to begin sharinga portion of those doses rapidly with other countries. Consequently, the Facility is accelerating its work with potential dose-sharing countries, and vaccine manufacturers, to include these doses in the Facility and facilitate their equitable global distribution. These shared doses will complement the early doses procured through the Facility. They can accelerate the Facility’s goal of ensuring participating countries – primarily AMC-eligible countries, but potentially others – achieve coverage of up to 20% of their population as soon as possible in 2021 and can expand coverage beyond that in 2021.

 

To maximize impact, the Facility promotes the following principles for shared doses:
1. Safe and effective: shared doses must be of assured quality with, at a minimum, WHO prequalification/emergency use listing or licensure/authorization from an SRA. Vaccine doses could be transferred to countries most rapidly if they are already in the COVAX Portfolio; other vaccines can be considered if they meet WHO’s Target Product Profile and the standards set by the Independent Product Group for vaccines in the COVAX portfolio.

2. Early availability: shared doses should be made available as soon as possible and ideally concurrently by the sharing country as it receives vaccines to increase equitable access and have maximum impact. Dose sharing should begin very early in 2021. Doses provided later in 2021 and beyond could still help increase coverage in countries and impact the pandemic.

3. Rapidly deployable: sharing of doses should be signaled as early as possible in the manufacturing process, with the dose-sharing country facilitating authorizations, so that doses are shipped directly from the manufacturer with universal labelling and packaging, allowing rapid deployment and maximizing shelf-life.

4. Unearmarked: to facilitate equitable access and in keeping with COVAX’s allocation mechanism, doses should not be earmarked for specific geographies or populations.

5. Substantive quantity: shared doses should be of sufficient and predictable volumes to have a substantive impact in achieving the goals of the Facility.

Shared COVID-19 doses would ideally be fully paid for by the dose-sharing country, including ancillary costs where possible. When shared vaccines are being provided to AMC-eligible economies, the Facility may also consider contributing to the costs of doses or options for doses at Facility prices (for example, for doses that are available early in 2021). These principles will be implemented in consultation with dose-sharing countries and vaccine manufacturers.

In keeping with the Facility’s goals, principles, and operations, the Facility will ensure that shared doses are distributed equitably, effectively, and transparently through the COVAX Allocation Mechanism. In parallel, COVAX is supporting AMC-eligible economies to optimize readiness for vaccination and ensure that ‘no dose sits idle’. For AMC-eligible economies, shared doses would be eligible for the Indemnity and Liability provisions for these economies.