Summit to support the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization — GAVI
May 27, 2020 (EIRNS) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is convening a virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020 on June 4th, and, according to the British Embassy in Moscow, has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to take part in it. The summit aims at mobilizing resources for a Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.
Dimitry Beskov, spokesman for the Russian presidency, said that Putin had received the invitation through diplomatic channels, but has not decided on a response as of yet. Such a decision will be announced later.
THE SUMMIT AND THE BACKGROUND OF GAVI
The June 20th Virtual Summit itself was preannounced, before the coronavirus pandemic, in February 2019. The summit is a funding event to assist the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), which distributes vaccines worldwide, and particularly to the poorest parts of the world. This year, of course, the coronavirus pandemic creates a new focus and attention to such an event.
The invitation to the June 20th Virtual Summit states: “The UK government will host GAVI’s third donor pledging conference to mobilise at least US$ 7.4 billion in additional resources to protect the next generation with vaccines, reduce disease inequality and create a healthier, safer and more prosperous world.” The Summit’s press release notes that developing countries themselves are set to add “3.6 billion towards their own vaccine programmes during the 2021 to 2025 period, as well as over US$ 6 billion in immunisation service delivery costs, making it their largest investment in immunisation in history.”
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), whose work is the subject of the summit, was created in 2000 at the initiative of the British government, which is still its largest funder, providing 1/4 of the Global Alliance’s budget. GAVI was designed as “a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries”. In addition to other corporate, governmental and private contributors, a recommendation for a $1.6 billion commitment to GAVI for the years 2020-2023 appeared in the U.S. President’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget request on February 10, 2020, to be arranged by the Agency for International Development.
GAVI’s approach not only includes financial support from donor countries and individuals and institutions, but also what it calls “innovative financing solutions“. On its website it explains: “even though more powerful vaccines were becoming available, over 30 million children in the developing world did not have access to the vaccines because of acute market failure. Developing countries simply could not afford most vaccines. In response, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a group of founding partners brought to life an elegant solution to encourage manufacturers to lower vaccine prices for the poorest countries in return for long-term, high-volume and predictable demand from those countries. In 2000, that breakthrough idea became the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation – today GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. GAVI now vaccinates almost half of the world’s children, giving it tremendous power to negotiate vaccines at prices that are affordable for the poorest countries and to remove the commercial risks that previously kept manufacturers from serving them. Because of these market shaping efforts, the cost of fully-immunising a child with all 11 WHO-recommended childhood vaccines now costs US$ 28 in GAVI-supported countries, compared to about US$ 1,100 in the US. At the same time, the pool of manufacturers producing prequalified GAVI-supported vaccines has grown from five in 2001 (with one in Africa) to 17 in 2017 (with 11 in Africa, Asia and Latin America). GAVI shares the cost developing countries pay for vaccines, which has resulted in more than 460 vaccine campaigns and dramatically boosted immunisation against virulent diseases. … So far, 15 countries that were formerly supported by GAVI have begun to fully self-finance their national vaccination programmes.”
The GAVI site also notes that the contribution from the UK includes an ability to generate vaccine bonds on international capital markets, and other mechanisms, including the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), designed by the UK to raise funds for GAVI. The other “innovative financing mechanisms” designed “to incentivize investment in immunization” mentioned on GAVI’s website are: the Gavi Matching Fund, the pneumococcal AMC, loan buydowns and INFUSE. This year, the Japanese government launched an Investment Opportunity at a high-level meeting hosted by the Government of Japan on the occasion of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama on 30 August 2019. Prime Minister Abe announced GAVI’s Investment Opportunity launch in his opening speech at TICAD.
The invitation for this year’s Virtual Summit has announced participation so far by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, General Director of the World Health Organization and former GAVI board member (2008-09); H. E. Faustin Touadera, President of the Central African Republic; H. E. Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana; H. E. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, H. E. Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia; Marc Christian Kabore, President of Burkina-Faso; H. E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya; H. E. Carlis Agostinho do Rosario, Prime Minister of Mozambique, and H. E. Macky Sall, President of Senegal, in addition to other organizational and corporate leaders, and Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the General Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) and former GAVI board member (2008-2009) welcomed the invitation to the upcoming June Summit. the press reports that Dr.Ghebreyesus thanked Boris Johnson for the invitation, and that the two discussed how to accelerate vaccine research and development, and the importance of making the vaccine, when it is developed, available to all, worldwide.