Gavi commits to purchasing ebola vaccine for affected countries

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Vaccine Alliance ready to begin procurement as soon as WHO recommends a vaccine for use

Plans to purchase millions of doses of an Ebola vaccine to support large-scale vaccination efforts were today agreed by the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Today’s decision means that Gavi will be ready to act as soon as a safe, effective vaccine is recommended for use by the World Health Organization.

The Gavi Board endorsed plans that could see up to US$ 300 million committed to procure the vaccines, to be used to immunise at risk populations in affected countries. Up to an additional US$ 90 million could be used to support countries to introduce the vaccines and to rebuild devastated health systems and restore immunisation services for all vaccines in Ebola-affected countries.

To meet the funding requirements of the approved Ebola initiative, Gavi will use a combination of existing and new sources of funds and join forces with initiatives that have already pledged funding to address the Ebola crisis.

Although there is currently no approved Ebola vaccine, two manufacturers have candidates undergoing human trials, with more manufacturers due to begin human trials with their candidate vaccines shortly. The Gavi Board’s decision to support the preparations for procuring Ebola vaccines while still awaiting a WHO recommendation was taken in light of the seriousness of the situation and the risks associated with delays in making a vaccine available.

“The Ebola outbreak reminds us of the critical importance of vaccines in fighting infectious diseases,” said Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley. “The Board’s decision underlines Gavi’s commitment to support the people of the Ebola-affected countries by ensuring that they will have access to a WHO-recommended vaccine as soon as one is approved and available from manufacturers.”

Noting the seriousness of the epidemic and the devastating consequences for people and communities, the Gavi Board approved plans that could see:

  • Up to US$ 300 million spent procuring up to 12 million courses of WHO recommended Ebola vaccines
  • Up to US$ 45 million to help countries roll out the vaccine, including critical activities such as health worker training, social mobilisation, surveillance and, if required, improvements to cold storage facilities
  • Up to US$ 45 million to assist with the recovery of health systems and immunisation services for all vaccines in the countries affected by the outbreak

In addition to supporting the use of Ebola vaccines to control the current epidemic, Gavi funding could also be used to create stockpiles of first- and second-generation Ebola vaccines which countries can access rapidly in future outbreaks. Gavi already funds similar stockpiles for yellow fever, meningitis A and oral cholera vaccines.

“Gavi has a responsibility to those in need,” said Gavi Board Chair Dagfinn Høybråten. “The Ebola outbreak, and its tragic effect on countries where we have been working for years, has tested Gavi’s ability to respond quickly to an urgent need and I am proud of the decision taken by the Board today. We are making determined efforts to ensure that people living in Ebola-affected countries are protected as soon as possible and do not have to face another terrible outbreak in the future.”

To maintain effective oversight of Gavi’s Ebola activities, the Board requested a schedule of regular updates through the Executive Committee and other governance mechanisms.

The Gavi Board’s decision was based on recommendations drawn up following three months of intensive collaboration between the Gavi Secretariat, Ebola-affected countries, the African Development Bank, WHO, UNICEF, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Bank, vaccine manufacturers, civil society organisations including Médecins Sans Frontières, and donors.

About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in poor countries. The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. Gavi uses innovative finance mechanisms, including co-financing by recipient countries, to secure sustainable funding and adequate supply of quality vaccines. Since 2000, Gavi has contributed to the immunisation of an additional 440 million children and the prevention of approximately 6 million future deaths. Learn more at http://www.gavi.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is funded by governments (Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States), the European Commission, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as private and corporate partners (Absolute Return for Kids, Anglo American plc., the A&A Foundation, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Comic Relief, the ELMA Vaccines and Immunization Foundation, JP Morgan, “la Caixa” Foundation, LDS Charities, Lions Club International Foundation, and Vodafone).

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Rob Kelly
GAVI Alliance
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