A global summit, hosted in the UK but attended by heads of governments and business leaders via Zoom, has raised $8.8 billion (€7.7 billion) in funding for vaccine programmes for the years to come.
In the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, the Global Vaccine Summit attempted to set out a roadmap for ensuring any future vaccine for the virus will be available to all who need it around the globe.
The event, which was moved online due to the pandemic, included 25 heads of state, and over 50 representatives from other governments and the private sector. It was hosted by the UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson.
The funds raised will go to Gavi, the vaccines organisation launched by Bill and Melinda Gates. Gavi says the goal of the event is to provide funding for five more years, reaching an additional 300 million children by 2025, which will save a further 7-8 million more lives. It claims to have prevented more than 13 million deaths since its launch in 2000.
The total raised was more than a billion dollars more than the original target.
A large proportion of the funding goal was already been pledged ahead of the summit including $1.65bn (€1.47bn) from the UK, and hundreds of millions from other countries and the private sector.
While the summit raised funds primarily for current vaccination programmes across the world, there was some focus on a vaccine for coronavirus.
The day before the conference, the United Nations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement called for a scaling up of efforts to develop, test and produce “a people’s vaccine” against COVID-19, making it available to everybody.
In a joint statement they pointed out the disproportionately higher impact on vulnerable groups and individuals, insisting “the spirit of global solidarity must prevail: no one should be left behind.”
Gavi was launched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation alongside partners in 2000, and currently helps to provide vaccinations for nearly half the world’s children.