GENEVA, June 25 (Reuters) – The board of directors of the GAVI vaccine alliance has approved an additional $ 775 million to fund the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to low-income economies over the next two years, so that he plans to speed up the deployment, he said on Friday.
The total funds available to cover the cost of delivering the vaccines will amount to $ 925 million, GAVI said in a statement released after a two-day board meeting.
COVAX, jointly managed with the World Health Organization, has delivered 90 million doses to 132 countries since February, but has faced significant supply problems since India suspended vaccine exports.
It is stepping up and now estimates its goal of delivering 1.8 billion doses to low-income economies would be met in the first quarter of 2022, GAVI said.
GAVI’s board has also set new vaccine access requirements, which will deter middle-income countries from participating by insisting that they pay for COVAX vaccines fully in advance next year.
“From 2022, the model will allow self-funded participants who depend on the facility to access doses to continue procuring vaccines through COVAX under revised terms and conditions,” he said.
Reuters, citing internal GAVI documents, reported on Wednesday that the overhaul was aimed at reducing COVAX’s financial risks, focusing more on countries most in need and reducing participation of richer countries. Read more
GAVI estimates that the program’s membership could decline to 120-130 next year, from around 190 countries currently, according to an internal document.
The changes mean countries in Latin America and the Middle East, as well as South Africa, could face higher costs to access the program and would have to borrow money to secure doses.
However, the poorest countries, mainly in Africa and Southeast Asia, will keep the same conditions, with little or no cost to purchase vaccines.
Reporting by Stéphanie Nebehay; edited by Emma Farge
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