We must redouble our efforts, diversify sources of vaccine available to COVAX-Kagame

On 3 June 2021 at 11:00

President Paul Kagame has urged donors to support COVAX initiative with a view to accelerate access to vaccine doses to defeat the pandemic which has taken lives of over 3.6 million people.

Kagame delivered the message on Wednesday as he attended COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) Summit.

COVAX, a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine producers to provide countries worldwide with equitable access to safe and effective vaccine.

During the summit, Global leaders and private sector companies pledged US$ 2.4 billion to the COVAX Facility to accelerate access to 1.8 billion COVID-19 doses for lower-income economies. The pledges exceed the original US$ 2 billion target and bring the total raised to US$ 9.6 billion.

Japan demonstrated its commitment to ending the acute phase of the pandemic by pledging US$ 800 million at the Summit, making their total contribution to the COVAX AMC US$ 1 billion. Their leadership made way for other donors to help COVAX fulfill its financial ask.

Kagame thanked donors who continue to support the initiative and urged them to redouble efforts to defeat COVID-19.

“We must redouble our efforts, and also diversify the sources of vaccine available to COVAX, even as we work to build Africa’s vaccine production capacity for the future. The COVAX Advance Market Commitment, led by Gavi, is the financing mechanism that ensures vaccine access for low- and middle-income countries. Now is the time to ensure COVAX has the funds to keep saving lives and help bring the Covid-19 pandemic to an end,” he said.

The President stressed that COVAX initiative saved many people’s lives including Rwandans through distribution of vaccines.

“The COVAX initiative has already saved many lives, including in Rwanda. Our country has received more than 500,000 doses via COVAX, allowing us to vaccinate nearly 3 percent of our population,” he noted.

The President, however, said that billions of people are still exposed to the dangers of Covid-19 where ‘the shortfall in Africa is particularly acute’ and emphasized that it is time ‘to ensure COVAX has the funds to keep saving lives and help bring the Covid-19 pandemic to an end’.

The funds raised will enable Gavi to secure 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for lower-income countries participating in the COVAX Facility.

The vaccines, to be delivered in 2021 and early 2022, will enable COVAX to protect almost 30% of the population in 91 AMC economies.

In addition, five countries made new commitments to donate more than 54 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries, including through COVAX, to bridge short-term supply challenges. This brings the total number of doses shared to more than 132 million