Commitments made at the Virtual G7 leaders meeting held on Friday, February 19, 2021 and hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and at the Munich Security Conference later in the day, signaled significant progress in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic with an important underscoring of the need for global equity in access to test, treatments, and vaccines.
Leaders recognised that no country can be safe until every country is safe and collectively committed over $4.3 billion to the ACT Accelerator partnership to develop and distribute effective tests, treatments, and vaccines around the world.
Contributions were made up as follows:
- The US committed initial $2 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment and a further $2 billion through 2021 and 2022, of which the first $500 million will be made available when existing donor pledges are fulfilled, and initial doses are delivered to AMC countries.
- Germany committed $1.8 billion with contributions to all pillars and partners of the ACT Accelerator across tests, treatments, vaccines, and health systems strengthening.
- The European Commission committed $363 million for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment.
- Japan committed $79 million for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment and UNITAID.
- Canada committed $59 million to the ACT Accelerator.
In addition, the European Investment Bank is providing a further $242 million in loan guarantees which will help the ACT Accelerator partnership to frontload future payments to speed up the response.
The UK’s commitment to join Canada, France, Norway and the European Union in sharing its additional vaccine doses with developing countries is a vital step to increase volume of vaccines available worldwide and support rapid reduction of virus transmission amongst some of the world’s our most vulnerable and exposed populations.
The ACT Accelerator initial needs for 2020-2021 were $38.1 billion. Prior to today, an unprecedented mobilization of sovereign donors, private sectors, philanthropic and multilateral contributors had already committed $6 billion. Considering those pledges, and costs adjustments, today’s new contributions bring the total committed to the ACT Accelerator partnership to $10.3 billion and reduce the funding gap to $22.9 billion.
The next few weeks will be critical for the global COVID-19 response. Further commitments are needed to fully fund the work of the ACT Accelerator and enable the delivery of more than 2 billion doses of vaccine; medical oxygen and millions of treatment doses including dexamethasone and new products, as and when they become available; and over 900 million diagnostic tests including high-quality, lower-cost molecular tests, antigen detection RDTs (Ag-RDTs) and self-tests.
This work will also support the urgent need for rapid R&D, product evaluation, and regulatory pathways for new and modified tests, treatments and vaccines to meet the needs of global response programmes and the threat of new and emerging variants.
Global health leaders responded to Friday’s announcements.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said: “I thank the US, Germany, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, Japan, and Canada for their significant funding commitments. Today’s news shows us solidarity prevails; we can turn a corner on this pandemic by funding the only global solution to end it. History will judge us collectively and I welcome the words of support from today’s G7 Leaders and the Munich Security Council for again highlighting to the world that we have to solve this together.”
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said: “This support for the Gavi COVAX AMC shows great commitment to equitable, global access to COVID-19 vaccines and is a major boost to our efforts to end the acute phase of the pandemic. We thank G7 countries, and particularly Germany and the United States, as well as the EU, for this strong leadership in the fields of global health and global health security.”
Dr Catharina Boehme, CEO of FIND, said: “Today’s new commitment is gladly welcomed. Over a year into the pandemic, inequality in testing remains across the globe, meaning that many countries are still flying blind in their pandemic response even as new variants emerge. For every test conducted in Africa, Europe is conducting 33. The pandemic will not be defeated until every country can access the tests, treatments and vaccines it needs to keep everyone safe.”
Peter Sands, Executive Director of Global Fund, said: “The Global Fund welcomes these significant contributions to the ACT-Accelerator. As the virus evolves, it is important to ensure equitable access to tests, treatments, vaccines and PPE to defeat COVID-19 and save lives. Galvanising a bolder, faster and more unified response should be a top priority for everyone. The longer COVID-19 is left unchecked in some parts of the world, the more the risk of new variants and the greater the knock-on impact on economies and other deadly diseases. We must act together now.”
Dr Philippe Duneton, Executive Director of Unitaid, said: “Unitaid welcomes such strong commitment to the vital work of the ACT-Accelerator. Treatments for COVID-19 are needed to save lives and provide a second line of defense against a mutating virus. This investment will aid our work to ensure promising treatments reach people everywhere.”
Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said: “We are entering a new and more complex phase of the pandemic. The emergence of novel variants that threaten to impact the safe and effective vaccines we have developed means that now, more than ever, we are in a race against this virus. It is paramount that we take this opportunity to not only push forward with our plan to end the acute phase of this devastating crisis, but also continue to focus on ensuring we invest in R&D, work for globally fair distribution, and build on our scientific achievements to meet the continued challenge of this pandemic.
“We welcome the G7’s leadership and focus on advancing COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment, in addition to their commitments to increase manufacturing capacity and share genomic sequencing information so that we can accelerate our work and continue to provide the tools the world so urgently needs. There is a moment of opportunity that we must now seize to collaborate in our efforts to stop the devastation of this pandemic.”