COVAX summit: Rich countries pledge an extra $2.4 billion | News | DW | 02.06.2021

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COVAX summit: Rich countries pledge an extra $2.4 billion

The United Nations-backed program to provide COVID-19 vaccines for low and middle-income countries has secured more than 132 million doses through donations.

Supply of COVID vaccine.

The COVAX program has distributed some 77 million doses to 127 countries

A global pledging summit to advance access to COVID-19 vaccines secured on Wednesday nearly $2.4 billion (€1.97 billion) for the COVAX vaccine-sharing plan.

The chairman of the GAVI vaccine alliance, Jose Manuel Barroso, said the summit brought the total contributions for the procurement of the jab to nearly $9.6 billion.

The summit also saw donations of some 54 million doses of COVID vaccines, bringing COVAX's total to more than 132 million doses.

Watch video 01:12

Vaccines badly needed in developing countries

Countries pledge millions

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced a fourfold increase of Japanese funding to the COVAX program, pledging another $800 million to deploy coronavirus vaccines for low and middle-income countries. 

Sweden, Austria, Spain, Finland, Luxembourg and Australia were also among countries to announce new donations.

US Vice President Kamala Harris referenced Washington's $4 billion contribution to COVAX, but made no specific announcements on fresh US funding. 

Watch video 03:40

Aurélia Nguyen, Head of the Office of the Covax Facility, welcomes US support

COVAX to the rescue

The COVAX program aims to accelerate access to 1.8 billion vaccine doses to covering nearly 30% of middle- and low-income countries' populations.

Roughly 1.8 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered worldwide, mostly in wealthy nations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly called on wealthier countries to donate to the COVAX program.

Watch video 00:56

Tedros Ghebreyesus: Walk the talk on vaccine equity

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reiterated concerns that wealthier countries have vaccinated high percentages of their people, while health workers in lower-income nations remain unprotected.

"Of the 1.8 billion vaccines administered globally, just 0.4% have been administered in low-income countries," he said. "This is ethically, epidemiologically and economically unacceptable."

Last month, the United Nations Security Council called for more COVID vaccines for Africa amid concerns that the continent had received only 2% of all shots administered worldwide.

fb/aw (AP, Reuters) 

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