WASHINTON, D.C. — Sen. Marco Rubio [R-FL] in collaboration with Sen. Tim Kaine [D-VA] proposed the Gavi Alliance Senate Resolution. The senators initially introduced S.Res.511 on Feb. 27 before COVID-19 had become a global concern. They amended it to match COVID-19 necessities and recovery goals in early June. On June 16, the Senate agreed to the resolution to emphasize the U.S. Senate’s support for Gavi and its goal of achieving universal vaccine coverage.
The Gavi Alliance Senate Resolution
The main goal of the Gavi Alliance Senate Resolution was to show the United States’ support for Gavi in its efforts to expand vaccination coverage worldwide. The bill also emphasizes the need to provide more funding and assistance to Gavi since COVID-19 has disrupted millions of scheduled vaccinations. Gavi will now have to make up for lost time to prevent as much damage as possible.
The Gavi Alliance Senate Resolution’s official text lists the organization’s achievements to show why the Senators should make specific efforts to support Gavi and the new, ambitious goals that Gavi is attempting to achieve in the upcoming years. Gavi has authorized more than 760,000,000 million vaccines for impoverished children and has saved approximately 13 million lives. Gavi has also helped reduce vaccine-preventable diseases by 70%.
2020 Global Vaccine Summit
On Jun. 4, world leaders held the 2020 Global Vaccine Summit virtually to support Gavi’s efforts towards fighting COVID-19 and increasing vaccination coverage. Gavi had a goal of raising at least $7.4 billion. In fact, it raised more than $8.8 billion. More than $500 million will go specifically to ensuring universal access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
A total of 31 global governments donated to the cause along with eight private organizations. The United Kingdom, the host of the summit, was the largest donor. The U.K. has pledged 330 million pounds (more than $438 million) per year for the next five years. Multiple vaccine manufacturers have also pledged to increase the supply for the HPV vaccine, which according to Gavi’s estimates will likely prevent 1.4 million cervical cancer deaths over the next few years.
The funding that Gavi raised will go towards vaccine campaigns in lower-income countries and efforts to strengthen health systems. Gavi has repeatedly warned about the 80 million children who risk disease due to vaccine disruption. If the vaccination campaigns are unable to start back up, it will harm millions and unravel years of progress. Because of this threat, it is likely that Gavi and other private foreign assistance groups will receive more funding as the danger rises, especially now that the U.S. has passed the resolution stating their support for Gavi.
Although S.Res.511 was passed after the Global Vaccine Summit, the attention drawn to the resolution could have had an effect on the donation amounts that corporations and organizations pledged. By the U.S. Senate showing their support for Gavi and emphasizing the need to increase funding, other countries saw that this was an issue important to the United States, especially as the Gavi Alliance Senate Resolution was passed unanimously with bipartisan support.
– Jacquelyn Burrer