A new breed of vaccine champions

Germany’s Federal Minister for Development Gerd Müller, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley and Deputy CEO Anaradha Gupta pictured celebrate as commitments to Gavi reached US$7.5 billion during Tuesday’s pledging conference in Berlin, Germany. Photo by: Oscar Seykens / GAVI

Earlier this week, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, managed to secure $7.54 billion in aid commitments for its work in the next five years. But many longstanding donors were curiously absent from Tuesday’s pledging table in Berlin, Germany.

As Devex reported ahead of the conference, Denmark didn’t pledge new funding for the public private partnership since its work no longer jives with the bilateral donor’s global health priorities.

But there were others: Brazil, which pledged $12 million previously, for instance, and Japan, which was present but didn’t make any immediate commitment; and a host of other investors.

The bulk of the pledges came from Gavi’s historically biggest funders: $2.34 billion from the United Kingdom, $1.553 billion from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $1.02 billion from Norway and $800 million from the United States ($200 million of its pledged amount was for 2015).

France and Italy also made generous commitments of $524 million and $437 million, respectively, despite their suffering economies. Germany and Canada amped up their support — to $720 million and $451 million, from $73 million and $225 million, respectively.

But while these huge amounts garnered applause, it was the new players at the table that drew attention.

China made history when it joined others in supporting Gavi with an — admittedly meager — $5 million commitment. The emerging donor is the last of the BRICS countries to pledge support to the alliance. Russia, India and South Africa committed funding for 2011-15 and pledged to give $33 million, $1 million and $3 million, respectively, in the coming years.

Gulf states also made a show of support for Gavi: Oman ($3 million), Qatar ($10 million) and Saudi Arabia ($25 million). The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, however, didn’t renew a previous pledge of $33 million.

The test now is how fast can donors deliver on their commitments and how swiftly can Gavi put the money into action — also to avoid currency fluctuations that have cost the alliance millions of dollars in the past years.

What’s your take on this week’s Gavi pledges? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.