Vaccine summit raises $8.8 billion for child vaccine programs
The Global Vaccine Summit, hosted virtually this week by the government of the United Kingdom, raised $8.8 billion in funding for programs to vaccinate 300 million children by 2025, according to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Funding from 32 donor countries and 12 foundations, corporations and organizations was pledged to Gavi.
“Thanks to vaccines, hundreds of millions of deaths have been prevented,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, MSc, said in a statement. “Polio has been pushed to the brink of eradication, and just in the past few years new vaccines have become available for Ebola and malaria. But vaccines only realize their true power when they are deployed to protect the poorest and most vulnerable.”
At least 80 million young children are at risk for missing routine vaccinations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, data collected by WHO, UNICEF and Gavi showed. Experts also have worried that the United States’ planned withdrawal from WHO would put even more children at risk.
The summit also raised $567 million for a new initiative to provide access to vaccinations for SARS-CoV-2 infection in low- and middle-income countries.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is unraveling many of the gains we have made, with vaccination campaigns for polio, cholera, measles, diphtheria and meningitis,” Tedros said.
The pledged donations exceeded the target of $7.4 billion. Gavi said it plans to use $3.6 billion toward the cost of purchasing vaccinations, which is more than double the amount that was used between 2016 and 2020. About $6 billion will be used to service immunization deliveries, although the COVID-19 epidemic could change that estimate.
The Global Vaccine Summit marked the 20th anniversary of when Gavi was founded.
“These pledges are not just an investment in the alliance of which we are a very proud partner; they are an advance on our shared vision of a healthier, safer and fairer world,” Tedros said. – by Ken Downey Jr.