The global leaders have pledged financing, dose donations, support for country readiness and delivery, and scale-up of global manufacturing to enable equitable access to Covid vaccines.
To improve access for the lower-income economies, the US will contribute an additional 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine, to be delivered through COVAX, beginning in 2022. Sweden will provide an additional $243 million through 2021 and 2022.
New dose commitments from the European Union, including Italy and Spain, as well as Sweden, Denmark, and Japan mean further doses will be available to COVAX participants in 2021 and 2022.
Global leaders made the commitment while attending the Global Covid-19 Summit hosted by the US Thursday.
They underlined their commitment to ensuring equitable access to Covid vaccines for all countries through COVAX – noting that equitable access is essential to end the acute stage of the pandemic.
Building on the momentum and global solidarity generated over the past eighteen months by various commitments, including at summits organised by the European Commission, the G20 under the Saudi and Italian presidencies, the UK, including the G7 under its presidency, the US, and the prime minister of Japan, the summit saw further pledges made to COVAX and equitable access.
Alongside these commitments, several countries pledged additional dose donations to be made available to countries around the world, including through COVAX, with Spain pledging an additional 7.5 million doses, Italy pledging an additional 30 million doses to be made available by the end of the year.
And Japan, which hosted the "One World Protected" Gavi COVAX AMC Summit in June 2021, pledging approximately 60 million doses.
Also, Denmark announced during the United Nations General Assembly this week that it would be doubling its dose donation commitment, bringing the total to 6 million doses pledged to be shared.
José Manuel Barroso, chair of the Gavi board, said this summit marks a major step forward in the global response against Covid and a major step forward for multilateralism.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organisation, said if they are to meet the targets they have set of vaccinating 10% of the population of all countries by the end of this month, 40% by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid-next-year, they need to drastically scale up access to vaccines now.
Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore said with only 12% of the pledges made earlier this year turning into actual doses, low-income countries can no longer wait. "We urge dose-sharing countries to accelerate their donation plans."
Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, said with the rise of variants and the current gap in equitable access to Covid vaccines they must urgently vaccinate those most at risk everywhere in the world.
"We cannot afford further delays in getting vaccines to the most vulnerable – to do so will mean a continuation of this pandemic and its impact on all of our lives."
So far COVAX has delivered more than 300 million doses to 142 economies, and according to the latest forecast, approximately 1.2 billion doses will be available for the lower-income economies supported by the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) by the end of 2021.
This is enough to protect 20% of the population, or 40% of all adults, in all 92 AMC economies with the exception of India.
The key COVAX milestone of 2 billion doses released for delivery is now expected to be reached in the first quarter of 2022.