The first deliveries from a pledge of 4 million doses to be donated to COVAX by The Belgian Development Cooperation have arrived, with 187,200 doses of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine shipped to Armenia on 5 September. Belgium is donating doses to COVAX on top of the USD 5 million it has pledged to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC), GAVI reports.
This donation by Belgium allows COVAX to deliver more vaccines in the third quarter of this year, before supply from COVAX purchase agreements increases in Q4, meaning that more people will be able to access vaccines now, at a time when variants are a major threat to global health and stability.
“Sharing doses with COVAX now represents the single most effective intervention a country can make in terms of halting the circulation of the virus.” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX. “These deliveries to countries enable COVAX to reach some of those in need of protection, and we are grateful to the Belgian government and the Belgian people for their continued support.”
“The only way to defeat this pandemic is through international cooperation. This week, Belgium shares 187,200 AstraZeneca doses with Armenia through COVAX vaccine sharing mechanism. No one is safe until everyone is safe,” said Meryame Kitir, Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy.
These doses donated by Belgium are produced by the AstraZeneca manufacturing network. Donating through COVAX helps to increase vaccine coverage, ensures that no dose goes to waste, and helps to bring an end to the acute phase of the pandemic. The design and operationalization of the COVAX dose sharing mechanism is being supported by a contribution of CAD 5 million from Canada.
The donation of doses via COVAX are enabled via tripartite agreements between Gavi, manufacturers, and donating countries. The shipments to countries will be enabled by COVAX delivery partners UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
Over 600 million doses have already been pledged to COVAX by a number of countries in response to short-term supply challenges and the rise of new variants. Working with donor governments to operationalize growing numbers of dose-sharing pledges, COVAX expects to see more deliveries of donated doses in the weeks and months to come.