Gates gives 1.4 billion: what’s behind Allianz, which should protect children

International donor conference: Gates also gives 1.4 billion: that’s behind the vaccination alliance, which should protect children

Friday, June 5th, 2020, 1:52 pm

At a donor conference, 7.8 billion euros were pledged for the Gavi vaccination alliance. This exceeded expectations by more than a billion on Thursday. The money will be used to vaccinate 300 million children against diseases such as polio, typhoid and measles within the next five years. The fight against Corona is also to be advanced.

Germany is contributing 600 million euros. With the EU (300 million), France (500 million) and Great Britain (1.85 billion), other countries and institutions also appear as major donors.

On the private side, Microsoft founder Bill Gates committed around 1.4 billion euros through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In early May, the foundation had donated $ 120 million to develop a corona vaccine.

What is the Global Alliance?

The Geneva-based Global Vaccine and Immunization Alliance (Gavi) was founded in 2000. In addition to the Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO), unicef ​​and the World Bank belong to the alliance. Since its inception, the alliance has helped vaccinate more than 760 million children in the world’s poorest countries, protecting them from life-threatening diseases.

This is made possible above all by close cooperation with the local health authorities and selected social aid organizations from the respective countries, which also work with the WHO regional departments on the distribution of vaccines. This form of support is extremely important, especially for poorer countries with poor infrastructure. However, the nations must apply for help themselves. Gavi primarily acts as a financer, while the partner Unicef ​​takes care of the procurement of the vaccine doses.

The work of the alliance is also crucial in the corona pandemic: Chancellor Angela Merkel warned at the conference that the virus also threatens to increase the spread of other infectious diseases. Germany has already committed investments of 100 million euros to curb Covid-19.

As soon as a vaccine was available, the conditions should be created to start a global vaccination campaign, the Chancellor continued. For this, it is important to strengthen health actors like Gavi. France also plans to provide an additional € 100 million as soon as a vaccine against Covid-19 is available.

How to make vaccine available to everyone in the world?

The conference participants agreed that vaccines must be accessible to all. This applies above all to a possible vaccine against Covid-19, which – unlike existing vaccines against polio, typhoid and measles – only has to go into mass production after its discovery and development.

For Elisabeth Massute from the legal department of “Doctors Without Borders”, the decisive factor is the conditions under which the funds are linked. “Conditions are needed to ensure fair access for all countries to vaccines, diagnostics, therapies and test options,” she says to VIP News. The only authority that can and should coordinate this is the WHO. Because that’s where the expertise currently lies. “This is the only way poorer countries can come to the negotiating table,” says Massute.

National interests should not dominate this process. “I find a statement from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who emphasized in March, particularly fitting: ‘Viruses are not national. Likewise, the antidote will not be a national. “”

What exactly is needed to ensure a rapid, global distribution of vaccines?

Cooling, the price and the speed of production will ultimately be important to ensure the global availability of vaccines, experts are certain. No problem in the major economies. However, experts and NGOs warn that this could be difficult, especially in poorer countries.

In addition to major shortcomings in health systems, poorer countries lack suitable production locations. However, Thorsten Schüller from CureVac, one of the German biotech companies that are researching a corona vaccine, believes that it is less about building production facilities in all countries. Because vaccine doses could also simply be sent worldwide and transported to countries that cannot produce on site.

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“In the end it is a financial question on the one hand and on the other hand it is important to create the capacity to produce as many vaccine doses as possible at the same time.” Where that happens is of secondary importance, says Schüller in an interview with FOCUS Online.

But this means that the vaccine has to be exported to countries that have little or no production capacity. “In order for exports to be sensible, the international community must ensure that the lowest possible barriers are attached to a vaccine,” says Massute of “Doctors Without Borders.” That means: no patents and low prices.

In the past, this had not always been successful, the aid organization criticized MSF. A previous Gavi fund for a pneumonia vaccine showed that some countries could not have obtained enough vaccines because of the high price, Marco Alves of the organization said before the Gavi conference started. “This must not be repeated with Covid-19.”

An aspect that UN Secretary-General António Guterres also emphasizes: “One vaccine in itself is not enough. We need global solidarity to ensure that everyone has access to it everywhere. “A corona vaccine should therefore be understood as a common international good.” Diseases know no borders. “

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