The first deliveries from a pledge of 5 million doses to be donated to COVAX by Norway have arrived, with 36,480 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine delivered to Nicaragua and 128,640 doses of the AZ vaccine delivered to Uganda on June 30.
These Norwegian dose donations comes on top of the NOK 1164.1 million it has pledged to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC).
This donation by Norway 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.
CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr Seth Berkley said: “As a longstanding champion of global health, Norway is co-chair of the ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council, host to COVAX partner CEPI, an original donor and supporter of Gavi and a major funder of the Gavi COVAX AMC,” said which leads on procurement and delivery at scale for COVAX. This dose donation enables COVAX to reach some of those who urgently need doses the most, and we are grateful to the Norwegian government and the Norwegian people for their continued support.”
These doses donated by Norway 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.
Minister of International Development in Norway, Dag Inge Ulstein said: “We all need to do more to ensure vaccines are available, and we need to do it now. Only 1.1 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose compared to 27.1 percent of the global population. In addition to more, and much faster dose sharing, there is an urgent need for additional financing for tests, treatments, and protective equipment and for the capacity to deliver all tools. The ACT-Accelerator needs to be fully funded to bring the pandemic under control.”
The donation of doses via COVAX are enabled via tripartite agreements between Gavi, manufacturers, and donating countries. The shipments to Nicaragua and Uganda will be enabled by COVAX delivery partners UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
Gavi and COVAX partners are working with governments to overcome legal and logistical hurdles to operationalise pledges totalling over 600 million doses, in order to enable deliveries of donated doses in the weeks and months to come.