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U.S. funding of global health strengthens COVID-19 fight
June 25, 2020

The United States has donated $1.16 billion more to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to prevent the spread of infectious diseases worldwide.

President Trump provided a statement of support for Gavi at the public Gavi pledge conference, hosted by the United Kingdom, on June 4.

Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced this as the largest ever U.S. donation to Gavi. The multi-year commitment reflects the ongoing U.S. collaboration with other countries to reduce the spread of preventable infectious diseases, and prevent a backslide in immunization gains during the COVID­-19 pandemic.

“Our support reflects American generosity and compassion, but it also demonstrates our understanding that global health security is a collective effort,” Glick said in a June 4 tweet. “As the current pandemic has demonstrated, a disease threat anywhere is a disease threat everywhere.”

The United States has allocated more than $12 billion for global health-security initiatives; development of COVID-19 vaccines, therapies and diagnostics; humanitarian aid; and emergency preparedness. The U.S. commitment to immunization complements the work of innovators in the United States and other countries who are racing to find a vaccine and treatments for COVID­19.

Launched in 2000, with an initial $750 million investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gavi is a public-private partnership that supports global health-system strengthening and vaccine deployment for infectious diseases worldwide.

In her statement, Glick said new funding for Gavi shows the U.S. government’s efforts to strengthen the global vaccine infrastructure that can serve as a foundation for future COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The money will support Gavi’s work in advancing innovative approaches to meet the world’s development needs. That includes better access to immunization for vaccine-preventable diseases including measles, yellow fever and diphtheria.

Gavi, which helps vaccinate nearly half the world’s most vulnerable children, recently announced new plans to work with manufacturers to ensure that any future COVID-19 vaccine is produced in sufficient quantities for equitable access to low- and middle-income countries.

Several U.S. partnerships are already testing COVID-19 vaccines in humans to ensure they are safe and effective. The U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is financially supporting development of several COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

BARDA recently announced $1.2 billion in financial support for the British-­Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to produce 300 million doses of a COVID-­19 vaccine for the United States, with delivery to start by the end of 2020, provided the vaccine proves safe and effective in clinical trials. AstraZeneca is developing the potential vaccine in partnership with Oxford University.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government, using an “all of America” approach, is also supporting vaccine research and development at home. The government on June 1 announced a $628 million contract with Emergent BioSolutions, based in Maryland, to increase vaccine development and manufacturing capacities.

BARDA is also working with syringe and glass-vial producers to increase production of the elements needed to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine, once a safe and effective candidate is identified.