CEPI, Gavi and the WHO have launched COVAX to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and end the acute phase of the pandemic by the end of 2021.

The Scale of the Problem

For every month that this pandemic continues, we experience the devastation it causes through the loss of tens of thousands of lives and the strain it puts on healthcare systems. We also feel the economic effects of trying to stop the spread through large-scale lockdowns and travel bans. IMF estimates suggest that, for each month the pandemic persists, $500 billion is lost from the global economy. This is not a ‘business as usual situation’ and it requires a different approach to meet the challenge and avoid years of delay. Acting now to accelerate development, manufacture, and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines will save millions of lives and protect the livelihoods of billions more.

In the age of COVID-19 nobody is safe until everybody is safe. Making vaccines available to those who need them most is the fastest, as well as the fairest, way to bring the pandemic to an end. But if we are successful in developing a vaccine we are also going to face a situation where demand for COVID-19 vaccines will vastly outstrip supply.

To meet this challenge, whilst also ensuring we bring an end to the acute phase of the pandemic, we will need to carefully manage this scarce resource for the benefit of all and to prioritise protection of those who are most at risk. Every country on the planet will need access to vaccines at the same time, to protect their most vulnerable populations. That is already leading to a race between countries to secure vaccine supply for their own population, but this approach risks pushing countries to the back of the queue if they can’t afford to make deals with manufacturers, and leaving many of those who are most vulnerable to the virus unprotected. We need to ensure that the skills, experience and resources of the world make this a race against the virus not against each other. This is where COVAX – a collaboration between CEPI, Gavi and the World Health Organisation comes in.

$500 billion monthly cost to the global economy

2 billion doses to be delivered via COVAX by the end of 2021

$2.1 billion funding needed for COVID-19 vaccine R&D

How COVAX will work

CEPI, alongside Gavi and the World Health Organisation, launched COVAX – the vaccines pillar of the ACT Accelerator – with the aim of ending the acute phase of the pandemic by the end of 2021.

COVAX is the only solution that will deliver fair, equitable access to vaccines for every country that participates.

COVAX aims to provide an ‘end-to-end’ solution to the challenge of vaccine development, manufacture and supply in this pandemic – bringing together the skills, expertise and resources of the public, private and philanthropic sectors on a global scale.

Together we aim to produce 2 billion doses of vaccine and distribute them globally and fairly in 2021. To support the vaccine R&D that is critical to achieving this goal, CEPI estimates that it needs $2.1bn to progress three vaccines to licensure, which will be made available to the world through COVAX.

Through COVAX, the risks and benefits of developing and producing vaccines are shared across countries. COVAX works by pooling financial resources to develop vaccines, purchase them at scale, and investing up-front in manufacturing so that vaccines are ready to be distributed as soon as they are licensed.

Countries participating in COVAX can access CEPI’s portfolio of COVID-19 vaccine candidates – the largest in the world – which is managed by CEPI’s R&D experts. CEPI’s approach of backing a diverse range of vaccine candidates increases our chances of developing multiple successful vaccines, which is crucial if we are to meet demand and protect the most vulnerable.

The need for a “portfolio approach” to vaccine development

In the early stages of vaccine development, predicting which candidates will be successful is impossible and most vaccine candidates in early development will fail.

The best chance of success is to hedge risk by creating a diverse portfolio of vaccine candidates, based on a range of vaccine technologies. COVAX provides countries access to the world’s largest portfolio of vaccine candidates, actively managed by CEPI’s R&D experts. The breadth of our portfolio will increase our chances of developing multiple successful vaccines, which is crucial if we are to meet global demand and protect vulnerable populations.

Why COVAX matters

  • 2 billion doses to be delivered via COVAX by the end of 2021

  • Globally fair distribution of vaccines as soon as they are available

  • Diverse & actively managed portfolio of vaccines increases chances of success

  • Sharing the risk and benefits of vaccine R&D

  • Ending the acute phase of the pandemic

  • Rebuilding livelihoods and economies

Document Library

COVAX Backgrounder. COVAX, the act-accelerator vaccines pillar. Download

COVAX Facility. Global procurement for COVID-19 Vaccines. Download

Reprinted for educational purposes and social benefit, not for profit.