The COVAX facility, set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the GAVI vaccine group in order to provide COVID-19 vaccines for poorer nations, has exceeded its interim target of raising more than US$2 billion.
Last Friday, the GAVI alliance said that the funds will allow the COVAX facility to buy an initial one billion vaccine doses for 92 eligible countries which would not otherwise be able to afford them.
Another US$5 billion will be needed in 2021 to procure COVID-19 vaccine doses as they come through development and are approved by regulators, GAVI said in a statement.
“We’ve seen sovereign and private donors from across the world dig deep and meet this target and help ensure that every country will get access to COVID vaccines, not just the wealthy few,” GAVI chief Seth Berkley told reporters
Berkley added that there was an “urgent need” to also finance treatments and diagnostics.
The European Commission, France, Spain, South Korea, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others had in recent weeks pledged another US$360 million, the alliance said, bringing total funding over the US$2 billion target for this year.
Berkley also welcomed the U.S. presidential election outcome, adding he expected to have talks with president-elect Joe Biden’s team about the COVAX plan.
“It’s positive that the incoming administration has already established a COVID-19 task force filled with many scientists we know are believers in science and moving this forward,” he said.
“The U.S. is already one of GAVI’s biggest supporters, they care enormously about vaccines for the developing world. And I suspect that we will have continuing conversations about how we can collaborate with them,” he added.
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its partner BioNTech , who this week said their experimental COVID-19 vaccine was 90% effective in initial trials, had expressed an interest in supplying doses to the COVAX facility, Berkley said.
“We continue to advance negotiations with a number of manufacturers in addition to those we’ve already announced who share our vision of fair and equitable distribution of vaccines,” he added.
Berkley said US$3 billion was also still needed for diagnostics and US$6.1 billion for therapeutics by the end of 2021. (Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation)