WHO says $700 million raised so far for COVID-19 vaccines initiative for poor

HARARE (Reuters) – International donors have raised $700 million – less than half the target – to purchase future coronavirus vaccines for poor countries in a global initiative to ensure eventual vaccines do not go only to rich countries, a World Health Organization official said on Thursday.

The COVAX Advanced Market Commitment has an initial target of $2 billion to buy the vaccines.

“Up to today, what has been mobilised so far is $700 million … So there is a great deal of work to be done to diversify the possible sources of funding,” Matshidiso Moeti, Africa regional director for the WHO, told an online press briefing.

Matshidiso Moeti

COVAX is co-led by the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, the WHO and the CEPI Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. Its aim is to deliver 2 billion doses of effective, approved COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021.

At least eight African countries, including South Africa, Gabon, Namibia and Equatorial Guinea had agreed to self-finance access to the vaccine, Moeti said.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said last month the continent had started to slowly “bend the curve” of COVID-19 infections as measures like mask-wearing and social distancing slow the spread of the pandemic.

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