SEATTLE — On June 4, 2020, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted the 2020 Global Vaccine Summit via video conference, uniting representatives and government leaders from 62 countries to discuss the increasing need for worldwide access to vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic. The summit ended with a huge showing of support from the countries in attendance as they collectively pledged $8.8 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in the largest collective investment ever made to immunization work.
The 2020 Global Vaccine Summit came during a critical moment in the history of public health. Never before has the world scrambled so quickly for a vaccine. While the world looks forward to the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus, today’s leaders took a united front to prepare for this event while ensuring Gavi’s assistance to vulnerable countries continues.
A number of new Gavi partnerships were solidified during the meeting, including with vaccine manufacturers, financing groups and supply chain companies. An agreement was also made between Gavi and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to jointly protect the world against the threat of epidemics.
The importance of vaccination awareness was also stressed during the 2020 Global Vaccine Summit. In addition to a large donation, TikTok has committed to using its platform to increase immunization and vaccination awareness and challenge the threat of misinformation. The Summit’s achievements will support the next five years of Gavi’s life-saving work.
Closer Look at Gavi
Gavi is a public-private partnership that works to vaccinate children from the world’s poorest countries against deadly diseases. In the past 20 years since its creation, Gavi has immunized more than 760 million children, saving more than 13 million lives in the process. It uses groundbreaking technology and public health research to save the lives of vulnerable children and prevent disease outbreaks from spreading. The WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among other partners, agencies and industries assist Gavi’s work. The funding brought in from the summit will help Gavi support 300 million more children by 2025, creating economic benefits in impoverished countries along the way.
After the 2020 Global Vaccine Summit, world leaders posted messages of support and praise on Twitter about Gavi, celebrating what the meeting achieved.
- President Kagame of Rwanda stated, “We cannot allow #COVIDー19 to do double damage, by slowing our response to the preventable diseases, that cost countless lives each year. Prevent, protect, prosper. With equal access for all. That is our common mission.”
- Minister of Foreign Affairs, HH Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia shared in a video, “To achieve stability and prosperity for future generations — it is our collective responsibility to contribute and support the novel cause of preserving and protecting human life.”
- Erna Solber, Prime Minister of Norway, posted, “In the fight against #covid19, we protect ourselves by protecting each other. As co-leader of #UnitedAgainstCoronavirus, we support research, development, and distribution of vaccines. We support @CEPIvaccines with USD 220 mill, and @gavi with USD 1 billion.”
- Finally, Prime Minister of India, HE Narendra Modi shared in a video, “Gavi is not just a global alliance. It is also a symbol of global solidarity—a reminder that by helping others, we can also help ourselves.” Gavi has clearly become an efficient channel through which world leaders can enthusiastically funnel donations.
The Return on Vaccines
Prime Minister Modi’s statement is especially poignant, given the interconnected nature of each country’s public health security. On a humanitarian level, vaccine and immunization work remains vital to global health security but it yields incredible economic power as well.
A Johns Hopkins University study showed that $21 is saved in health care costs and lost wages for every dollar spent on immunization, with the return on an investment in vaccines at $54 for every dollar. Similar to the verified economic return on helping countries out of poverty, the return on vaccine investment is just as potent for the U.S. economy. Between 2000 and 2017, Gavi-supported vaccines generated upwards of $150 billion in benefits. By 2020, 16 countries had entered the vaccine market, as they became capable of self-financing their programs, thanks to Gavi’s past support.
The round of support from countries and companies around the world as seen in the 2020 Global Vaccine Summit indicates unity during an unsettling time. The incredible financial support gained from the summit will allow Gavi to advance its life-saving work and establish a stronger economic footing in assisted countries, that is sure to benefit us all in the coming years.
– Maria Marabito