MedAccess, the Open Society Foundations, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance announced a new partnership to create a Risk Sharing Facility to help countries procure additional COVID-19 vaccine doses, including variant-adapted doses in response to risks and shocks. The US$ 200 million facilities are designed to enable countries to protect more of their people and support COVAX’s ambitions to make COVID-19 vaccine procurement more sustainable and more tailored to country needs.
The Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC) provides COVID-19 vaccines free of charge for 92 of the world’s lowest-income countries, helping them to meet the objectives set out in their national vaccination strategies – with more than 1.2 billion doses already shipped to AMC countries. In addition, AMC countries can also use the COVAX Cost-Sharing Mechanism to order more doses using domestic resources or low-cost financing from their multilateral development bank (MDB) partners, enabling them to protect more people, more quickly.
The new guarantees are aimed at increasing take-up of the Cost-Sharing Mechanism by facilitating the financing of orders. MedAccess will provide a US$ 100 million procurement guarantee to enable COVAX to order more doses from manufacturers on behalf of AMC countries choosing to participate in cost-sharing. By purchasing through COVAX, countries benefit from lower prices per dose negotiated for a range of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Open Society Foundations will provide a further procurement guarantee of up to US$ 100 million alongside MedAccess, through the Soros Economic Development Fund. This will help COVAX to respond to country requests for additional doses in the event of a future shock or demand spike.
“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on health and financial systems in every country,” said MedAccess CEO Michael Anderson. “Donors have stepped up with huge sums of money to drive COVAX’s initial dose allocations but innovative finance can unlock even greater value. Our support for Gavi will enable COVAX to work with countries to speed up access to these essential vaccines and put their programs on a more sustainable footing. Innovative financing solutions are crucial to the success of global vaccination in 2022,” added Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “Our partnership with MedAccess, thanks to the support of the Open Society Foundations, will allow countries to access additional resources through COVAX cost-sharing, helping them to meet the goals set out in their national vaccination strategies and respond to uncertainty and risks such as new variants. Together, we can break COVID-19.”
“The inequities in access to vaccines in poor countries is one of the biggest, collective global failings of our time,” said Mark Malloch-Brown, President of the Open Society Foundations. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, Open Society has responded in diverse ways to ensure that the most vulnerable have equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics – just like those in rich countries. COVAX’s Cost-Sharing Mechanism is an additional and important way to ensure governments have the agency, on their terms, to determine if, how, and when they acquire low-cost doses for their populations.”
The COVAX Cost-Sharing Mechanism was launched in partnership between Gavi, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank in July 2021. Since then, the European Investment Bank has also joined and committed EUR 300 million in financing for countries wishing to access additional doses through the mechanism. Countries with MDB-approved vaccination programs can make requests to COVAX for additional vaccine doses. To date, Gavi has already ordered 140 million additional vaccine doses through cost-sharing on behalf of 15 AMC countries, at a total value of US$ 800 million.
Countries specify the preferred type of vaccine, the number of doses, and their desired delivery window, enabling COVAX to aggregate demand and exercise its options under agreements with vaccine manufacturers. The MDB provides a payment confirmation, which enables COVAX to confirm its order. Subject to the finalization of the legal agreement, MedAccess and Open Society’s support aims to provide a backstop for Gavi during the period from exercising its option to country payment being confirmed; without the guarantees, Gavi would be required to hold donor funds in reserve. This guarantee provides financial independence to Gavi for the benefit of COVAX AMC country partners.
On April 8, 2022, Gavi will hold the 2022 Gavi COVAX AMC Summit, co-hosted by Germany, Indonesia, and Senegal. Gavi aims to raise at least US$ 5.2 billion in urgent financial support for COVAX, including US$ 3.8 billion in donor funding for lower-income countries supported by the Gavi COVAX AMC. At least US$1 billion of the US$ 5.2 billion is intended to come from cost-sharing. To date, COVAX has shipped more than 1.4 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to 145 countries and territories.