Pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines. The United States will commit $1 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance through 2018. Photo by: Jeannine / CC BY-NC-SA

The welcome reception to kick off the pledging conference in Berlin, Germany, for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance will be held later tonight, but already the public-private partnership has gained itself one backer: the United States.

In an announcement shared with Devex over the weekend, the United States said it will be committing $1 billion to the alliance through 2018. While still subject to congressional approval, this shows an increased commitment by the bilateral donor to Gavi.

At Gavi’s first pledging conference in 2011, the United States pledged $450 million, plus an additional $90 million that was subject to congressional approval. To date, the donor is $7 million shy of meeting its commitment, according to a breakdown document published in September.

“With Gavi supporting the accelerated roll-out [of the] pentavalent, pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines, tackling the leading causes of the world’s two biggest childhood killers — pneumonia and diarrhea — the impact of the alliance will be felt even more between now and the end of the decade,” Chris Thomas, health and development officer at the U.S. Agency for International Development, told Devex in an email.

U.S. support brings total expected Gavi resources for the 2016-2020 strategic period to $3.85 billion. The estimated figure includes pledges already made in advance by the European Union, Norway, Canada and the United Kingdom, the alliance’s biggest donor.

It’s still far from the alliance’ $7.5 billion target. Based on these announcements, however, all donors except for the United Kingdom have increased their commitments to Gavi. In 2010 and 2011, the United Kingdom made an “exceptional” pledge of $2.5 billion for the alliance for the period 2011-2015.

Depending on how much other donors commit Tuesday on the pledging table, it may be possible for Britain to announce additional support for the alliance. In November, the United Kingdom announced 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) in support for the public-private partnership for the 2016-2020 period.

There is no breakdown yet as to how much of these pledged amounts will go under Gavi’s matching fund and the alliance’ two other funding mechanisms: the International Finance Facility for Immunization and the Advance Market Commitment.

Donors to keep an eye on

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has yet to make public its support, but it has been one of Gavi’s most generous donors, just after the United Kingdom. The foundation made a $1.3 billion commitment to Gavi in 2011, and vaccines figured prominently in Bill and Melinda Gates’ 2015 annual letter.

Germany, which plays host to this year’s conference, is also expected to pledge a significant contribution.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe previously pledged post-2015 support for the alliance, although it remains to be seen how much the bilateral donor will be committing for the next period, and whether it will announce multiyear support. Previous Japanese commitments to Gavi were done on an annual basis.

South Korea, meanwhile, has an outstanding commitment of $2 million until 2017.

Denmark confirmed to Devex, however, that it will no longer be pledging any funding for Gavi at the conference.

“Denmark phased out support to Gavi end 2013 as part of a prioritization process of our resources for global health,” said Sanne Frost Helt, chief adviser of global health at the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Action Global Health Advocacy Partnership fears the Netherlands may also do the same or make a reduced commitment, given its declining foreign aid budget. Dutch aid is expected to decrease to 0.55 percent of the country’s gross national income by 2017.

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About the author

  • 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.