Coronavirus Global Response: the Commission’s contribution to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX)

Credit: Unsplash

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the European Commission confirmed its participation in the COVAX Facility for equitable access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines, following its expression of interest on 31 August and its announcement of a contribution of €400 million.

In a joint effort between the European Commission and the 27 EU Member States, Team Europe will contribute with an initial €230 million in cash through a loan from the European Investment Bank, backed by the same amount in guarantees provided by the EU budget. A contribution of €230 million is equivalent to reserves or options to buy 88 million doses and the EU would transfer these to eligible Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) countries. This contribution is complemented with €170 million in financial guarantees from the EU budget.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “It is not enough to find a vaccine. We must make sure that citizens around the world have access to it. Our strong commitment to the COVAX Facility is an another sign to all citizens who need the vaccine that we stand with them, wherever they are. No one is safe until everyone is safe”.

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Being part of the COVAX Facility means ensuring its success and providing access to vaccines for low and middle income countries. It means ensuring access not only for those who can afford it – but to all citizens globally. And it means showing solidarity and global leadership. It is only together that we will be able to overcome COVID-19”.

Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International partnerships, said: With this contribution to COVAX, the EU is demonstrating that we are serious about leaving no one behind. The future vaccines for COVID-19 should not be a luxury for the rich but a global public good. We need to guarantee that those that most need it have access to it irrespective of where they live”.

The COVAX Facility, co-led by Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, aims to accelerate the development and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

The Commission, Member States and European financial institutions, notably EIB, jointly committed to mobilise resources for the Coronavirus Global Response. The Commission participates with €400 million in cash and guarantees to support COVAX and its underlying objectives as part of a Team Europe effort. The detailed terms and conditions for the EU’s participation and contribution are currently being worked out between all parties concerned. Team Europe is ready to offer expertise and resources to the COVAX Facility to accelerate and scale-up the development and manufacturing of vaccines for citizens across the world, in poor and rich countries.

The EU’s participation in COVAX will be complementary with the ongoing EU negotiations with vaccine companies launched under the EU Vaccines Strategy. The EU’s efforts to develop and produce an effective vaccine will benefit all in the global community. The EU investment in scaling up manufacturing capacity will be to the service of all countries in need. Through its Advanced Purchase Agreements, it requires manufacturers to make their production capacity available to supply all countries and calls for the free flow of vaccines and materials with no export restrictions. For instance, the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-GSK with whom the Commission concluded an Advanced Purchase Agreements today will endeavour to provide a significant portion of their vaccine supply through the COVAX facility.

Background

COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

The COVAX Facility aims to purchase 2bn doses by the end of 2021. It will help to develop a diversified portfolio of vaccines, negotiated with different suppliers, and covering different scientific technologies, delivery times and prices. The COVAX Facility is a risk-sharing mechanism: it reduces the risk for manufacturers who invest without being sure about future demand, and it reduces the risk that countries would fail to secure access to a viable vaccine.

The European Commission is committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a vaccine gets it, anywhere in the world and not only at home. No one will be safe until everyone is safe. This is why it has raised almost €16 billion since 4 May 2020 under the Coronavirus Global Response, the global action for universal access to tests, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus and for the global recovery. Team Europe‘s contribution was: EU Member States (€3.1 billion), European Commission (over €1.4 billion) and EIB (almost €2 billion pledged in May and 4.9 billion pledged in June).

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