Summit secures $ 2.4 billion for COVID injections for poor countries


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GENEVA / ZURICH – Countries and private donors on Wednesday pledged nearly $ 2.4 billion to the COVAX vaccine sharing plan, aimed at making COVID-19 vaccines more accessible to people in the poorest countries.

The announcements, ranging from $ 2,500 from island nation Mauritius to millions of dollars and doses from richer countries, took place during a video summit hosted by Japan and the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, which runs the facility. COVAX alongside the World Health Organization.

The funds will allow COVAX to get 1.8 billion fully subsidized doses for delivery to low-income countries in 2021 and early 2022, enough to protect 30% of adults there, GAVI said in a statement.

“We have taken a big step towards ‘a protected world’,” said José Manuel Barroso, President of GAVI. The new funds brought COVAX’s total funding to $ 9.6 billion, he added.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, whose government has pledged $ 800 million, called the outcome “an extremely important and significant step” towards equitable access to vaccines.

The COVAX mechanism has distributed 77 million doses to 127 countries since February, but has been blocked by India restricting vaccine exports amid a major epidemic.

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his country is giving an additional A $ 50 million ($ 39 million) to COVAX.

Philanthropist Bill Gates said: “High-income countries have reserved more vaccines than they need. Thus, without compromising their own national immunization efforts, these countries can participate in the effort to accelerate global access to vaccines by sharing excess doses. “I encourage these countries to be bold and commit as soon as possible to share over 1 billion doses in 2021, primarily as part of GAVI’s COVAX advance market engagement,” said Gates.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation later announced a $ 50 million commitment to COVAX.

Canada, Sweden, France and Switzerland were among other countries to announce new donations. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who pledged 15 million doses and 50 million euros ($ 61 million), said: “Only by setting an example will we be effective in preaching solidarity. .

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US Vice President Kamala Harris referred to the contribution of US $ 2 billion this year and the US $ 2 billion planned for next year, but made no new announcements.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reiterated concerns that Western countries have vaccinated a high percentage of their population, while health workers in places like Africa remain unprotected.

“Of the 1.8 billion vaccines administered worldwide, only 0.4% have been administered in low-income countries,” he said. “This is ethically, epidemiologically and economically unacceptable.” ($ 1 = 0.8205 euros) ($ 1 = 1.2898 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and John Miller in Zurich Additional reporting by Alistair Smout in London Editing by Mark Heinrich and David Holmes)

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