SEATTLE, Washington — On February 21, 2020, Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum introduced H.Res.861: Supporting the role of the United States in helping save the lives of children and protecting the health of people in poor countries with vaccines and immunization through the GAVI Alliance. This resolution would reaffirm financial assistance from the U.S. to continue supporting the GAVI Vaccine Alliance for the 2021 to 2025 period. With the help of the U.S. and other world partners, GAVI has proved successful in accomplishing its mission of saving lives by increasing access to immunization in the world’s poorest countries.
The GAVI Alliance and the US
Created in 2000, GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations) is a public-private global partnership with a focus on increasing access to immunization in poor countries. Besides donations from governments of countries like the United States, GAVI’s other investors include The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization. GAVI aid is provided through vaccination support and health system strengthening. Since its creation, more than 13 million lives have been saved by increasing protection against epidemics. The partnership holds a long-term goal of eventually transitioning countries out of their assistance after implementing strong immunization programs within their communities.
Currently, GAVI provides aid to 76 countries and more than 760 million children have received vaccinations, which has all been made possible through partnerships. The U.S. has contributed to GAVI every year since 2001 and has been one of GAVI’s top government donors since its development, having offered $2.5 billion in 2019. The approval of H.Res.861 would essentially renew the long affiliation of the U.S. with GAVI for the following five years, empowering GAVI to accomplish its goals of increasing vaccinations, ensuring sustainability and building healthy markets in poor countries.
After being introduced in the House on February 21, 2020, H.Res.861 was referred to the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations on April 3, 2020. Here it awaits confirmation from this subcommittee before facing a House vote, and currently holds 19 bipartisan cosponsors. H.Res.861 asks the U.S. for further support for the world’s most vulnerable countries through GAVI, which will not only protect the lives of individuals but also uplift entire communities.
On June 4, 2020, the most recent Global Vaccine Summit took place virtually, consisting of representatives from 62 countries supporting the GAVI Vaccine Alliance. World leaders met with members of organizations to support the work in preventing infectious diseases across the globe. The GAVI Vaccine Alliance was fortunate to exceed its goal of raising $7.4 billion toward global vaccinations, as countries donated a total of $8.8 billion. Many countries were first-time donors, including Uganda, New Zealand and Bhutan. These financial investments in GAVI will ensure that when a COVID-19 vaccine is created in the future, the world’s most vulnerable will have access to them.
It is estimated that the GAVI Vaccine Alliance will help save approximately 22 million lives by the end of 2025 in some of the world’s poorest regions. A financial commitment from the U.S. would help secure that goal. Supporting the GAVI Vaccine Alliance benefits the entire world. If H.Res.861 is passed, many countries would continue receiving the health assistance they need and have access to further assistance in the future.
– Radley Tan