This year marks a pivotal time for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance as it celebrates 20 years of improving access to new and under-used vaccines for millions of the world’s most vulnerable children. Since its inception, Gavi has supported 430 vaccine introductions, contributed to the immunization of more than 760 million children, and helped prevent over 13 million future deaths. 2020 also marks the year of Gavi’s replenishment — a process by which donors, implementing countries, and vaccine manufacturers come together to support expanded immunization programs in low-income countries. Given Gavi’s unmatched role in protecting an entire generation of children, it is imperative to raise the funds necessary to invest ambitiously in the next decade of vaccines.
Gavi operates on a five-year strategic cycle, near the end of which it needs to garner funds for the upcoming period. Predictable financing allows manufacturers and implementing countries to forecast demand over each five-year cycle, a crucial aspect of Gavi’s unique public-private partnership. This planning helps maximize the return on investment of every dollar invested in the Vaccine Alliance.
London will be hosting Gavi’s third pledging conference this June. The first replenishment conference in 2011 raised $4.3 billion and the second in 2015 raised $7.5 billion. For its next strategic period (2021-25), Gavi has set an ambitious goal to deliver more than 3.2 billion doses of lifesaving vaccines to reach 300 million children and save an additional 7-8 million lives. In order to fulfill these goals, Gavi will need $7.4 billion in funding to ensure it can continue to work effectively in strengthening routine immunization programs and health systems broadly.
Gavi’s work over the past 20 years has had a vital impact on vaccine access globally: the organization now immunizes almost half of the world’s children against deadly and debilitating infectious diseases. Equally important, as of 2018, 16 countries had transitioned out of Gavi’s support and now independently fund their vaccination programs. However, 1 in 10 children still do not receive any vaccinations and the percentage of children who receive routine immunizations has remained stagnant at 86 percent. Additionally, significant inequities remain in immunization coverage within and between countries, putting children at risk of potentially fatal diseases.
Gavi replenishment presents a critical opportunity to invest ambitiously in immunization programs and reach every child with lifesaving vaccines. Immunizations have been proven to be one of the most cost-effective ways to save and improve the lives of children worldwide. Vaccines and the futures they bring move us closer to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 — ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages. We need all sectors to mobilize the resources necessary to protect the next generation.