The first shipment of a Swiss donation of 4 million doses has arrived in Sierra Leone, with 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine touching down in Freetown on 9 October 2021. Over 400,000 additional doses will be reaching a number of countries in Africa and Asia in the coming weeks.
As the host country of Gavi, Switzerland has long been a strong supporter of Gavi’s mission and vision. The Swiss federal government has scaled up its contribution to Gavi in recent years, pledging CHF 10 million for routine immunisation programmes in 2020 to help deliver life-saving vaccines to children around the world.
Switzerland has also stepped up to support COVAX, pledging CHF 20 million in 2020 and an additional 125 million in 2021 to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC) to help buy vaccines for people in lower-income countries and territories. This recent dose donation builds upon that support.
Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said: “As our host since the creation of Gavi, Switzerland has been a strong supporter of global vaccination – pledging funding to Gavi’s core budget and also to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC). This donation of 4 million doses strengthens Swiss leadership in global health.”
These doses donated by Switzerland 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.
The donation of doses via COVAX are enabled via tripartite agreements between Gavi, manufacturers, and donating countries. The shipments to countries will be enabled by COVAX delivery partners UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Hundreds of millions of doses have already been pledged to COVAX by a number of countries in response to short-term supply challenges and the rise of new variants. Working with donor governments to operationalise growing numbers of dose-sharing pledges, COVAX expects to see more deliveries of donated doses in the weeks and months to come.