A man undergoes medical checkup to qualify as volunteer for clinical trial of a vaccine against Covid-19 at a Padjadjaran University clinic in Bandung, West Java on Aug. 14, 2020. (Beritasatu Photo/Adi Marsiela)

Gavi Commits to Vaccines Rapid Distribution for Indonesia, Participating Countries

BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

NOVEMBER 14, 2020

Jakarta. Global vaccine alliance Gavi said they would distribute Covid-19 vaccines to poorer nations in very close time between each targeted country when they are safe and ready, ensuring countries like Indonesia to get early access to the vaccines. 

Gavi, along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), aims to deliver 2 billion doses globally by the end of 2021. They have established a financing mechanism, dubbed as the Gavi Covax advance market commitment (AMC) facility, to procure vaccines for 92 lower and middle-income economies, including Indonesia.

According to Gavi managing director Aurelia Nguyen, ensuring equitable access to vaccines is paramount in combating the pandemic.

"All countries will first have a tranche of vaccines delivered. Countries like Indonesia and other participants will have the first amount of vaccines in very, very close succession to them," Nguyen said. 

"There wouldn't be a large time difference in the pecking order of the vaccine supply," Nguyen told reporters in an online conference on Friday.

The vaccine distribution in the eligible countries will follow the WHO's mechanism, in which healthcare workers are to be the first in line.

Gavi expects to see a short supply of vaccine in the beginning. Because of this, the first batch of doses is to be rolled out in a smaller amount. Over time, the supply would grow in number as more vaccines are available, Nguyen said.

"Governments from lower-income countries will pay no greater than $2 for each dose. But, we have been very clear that we will be flexible if it looks like it may delay or prevent the introduction," she added.

Indonesia had decided to join Gavi with Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi delivering the expression of interest to the alliance in person last month. 

More Funding

Generous contributions ranging from sovereign donors, private sectors, and philanthropists such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have helped the Gavi facility raise over $2 billion. The money will be spent on securing the initial one billion doses for the 92 AMC-eligible countries.

According to Gavi's chief executive officer Seth Berkley, additional funding is still necessary to ensure no country is left behind. Gavi still requires at least another $5 billion by 2021 to procure the vaccines.

"We are also going to need a further $1.8 billion in 2021 both for the ongoing work of CEPI to support R&D on the first and second waves of [vaccine] candidates. We also need additional support to fund delivery and distribution," Berkley said.

Berkley also highlighted the urgent need to finance WHO's Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT Accelerator). There is still $5.3 billion left to raise for Covid-19 diagnostics to boost testing and another $6.1 billion for therapeutics.

Glimmer of Hope

This week, US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech announced the clinical trial for their vaccine candidate is 90 percent effective.

Berkley said the astounding progress offers a glimmer of hope in the fight against Covid-19. Pfizer and BioNTech, and other manufacturers, have expressed interest in the possible supply to the Covax facility.

"We will continue negotiations with the manufacturers who share our vision for a fair and equitable global distribution of the eventual vaccine. This is why financing is so important to sign those deals," Berkley said.

"No one is safe until everyone is safe. If only the wealthiest countries are protected, then international trade, commerce, and society as a whole will continue to be struck as the pandemic continues to rage across the globe," he said.

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