ONE welcomes Biden COVAX pledging moment, urges administration to share excess vaccine doses

WASHINGTON — The ONE Campaign released the below statement on the news that the Biden administration intends to host the investment opportunity launch that will kick off fundraising leading up to Gavi/COVAX’s upcoming pledging summit.

Tom Hart, North America executive director at The ONE Campaign:

“Today’s announcement, coupled with the $4 billion commitment the United States made to COVAX, sends a strong signal that we will play a convening and catalytic role. We thank Secretary Blinken for his leadership and we call on other donors to step up to end this global health crisis.

“Low-income countries not only need this welcome fundraising effort, they need access to COVID-19 vaccine doses. The United States has secured over 550 million excess doses that could be used to help end the global pandemic faster. The Biden administration should announce a clear plan for distributing excess vaccine doses to COVAX while simultaneously vaccinating the United States’ domestic population. Billions of people around the world are anxiously watching to see if America will begin sharing its excess vaccines now when it matters most.

BACKGROUND INFO

The United States has made great strides in its efforts to fund the ACT-Accelerator: the Biden administration has pledged $4 billion to COVAX. The first $2 billion aims to meet immediate global vaccine needs and the other $2 billion will be committed over the next two years.

As of March 11, 2021, $11 billion has been committed to the ACT-A. These pledges, together with cost adjustments since September 2020, bring the remaining funding gap for 2021 to $22.1 billion. While Germany, Canada, and Saudi Arabia have fulfilled or exceeded their fair share in funding the ACT-Accelerator, other nations, like China, Japan, France, must step up and commit funding.

Recent analysis from ONE shows the US has purchased over 550 million excess COVID-19 vaccine doses that could be used to vaccinate people in the world’s poorest countries. To date, the Biden administration’s position has been that the US won’t share vaccines globally until Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Global health experts warn this could prolong the pandemic. Leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, have called on countries to allocate 4-5% of their vaccine doses to low-income countries.

Global access to vaccines will save lives and make all of us safer. Research shows that in a scenario where a vaccine is not distributed fairly, twice as many people could die as the virus continues to wreak havoc on the world. If a vaccine is distributed exclusively to high-income countries first, the world will only avoid 33% of COVID-19 related deaths. But, if a vaccine is distributed to every country on the globe proportionally to its population rather than prioritizing high-income countries, the world could avoid 61% of COVID-19 related deaths.

Ensuring global access to a vaccine will not only end the pandemic sooner, but will boost the global economy. The economic cost of not distributing a vaccine everywhere would be enormous. A recent study found the global economy stands to lose as much as $9.2 trillion if governments fail to ensure developing economy access to COVID-19 vaccine.

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