The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the death of several million people and disrupted the lives of billions more. Only equal access around the world to vaccines, especially for the protection of healthcare workers and the most vulnerable, can reduce the impact of this pandemic on public health and the economy.
That is why, in February 2021, the President of the French Republic encouraged his G7 partners to set up a vaccine dose donation mechanism. The aim was to prioritize the vaccination of healthcare workers in African countries. At the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay in June 2021, France committed to donating 60 million doses of different vaccines (AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Janssen, Moderna) by the end of 2021, essentially supported by the COVAX Facility’s expertise for delivery. On 25 September 2021, the President of the French Republic boosted this objective to 120 million doses by mid-2022.
What is COVAX?
The COVAX Facility has been supported by France ever since its creation in April 2020. Its aim is to enable the development, purchase and delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses for low-income countries and for the countries that want to buy the vaccines for themselves (“self-financing” countries).
The aim of this unique facility is to enable vaccine coverage of at least 30% of the population in developing countries by the end of 2021, by targeting priority persons (in an equitable framework defined with the World Health Organization/WHO). COVAX is therefore the most concrete multilateral response to truly making COVID-19 vaccines a global public good.
An action that demonstrates the effectiveness of multilateralism at work
Vaccine donations are essential to support the COVAX delivery campaigns. In the short term, these donations are the only effective response to speed up vaccination campaigns all around the world and combat the development and spread of new variants that pose a challenge to the progress that has been made in the pandemic response.
France is a pioneer of this vaccine solidarity facility, as it launched donations starting in April 2021. It believes that it is essential that these donations occur early in the process and in significant numbers to speed up the vaccination campaigns. In this regard, it has already donated more than 20 million of the doses it committed to and they are currently being delivered.
The French approach is part of a partnership with the major international health organizations (WHO, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance) as well as regional organizations such as the African Union and its AVAT mechanism, with which an agreement will enable the rapid delivery of 10 million doses to African countries.