LONDON (Reuters) – Almost $1.9 billion left in the global scheme to share COVID-19 vaccines more equitably will be used to help prepare for future pandemics and other health threats, said the German development ministry on Tuesday.
Germany was a major donor to the COVAX vaccine initiative run by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
As Reuters reported on Monday, donors and the Gavi board have been discussing what to do with the leftover funds as the emergency phase of the pandemic ends and vaccine demand dwindles.
At Gavi’s board meeting on Tuesday, they agreed to use $813 million for variant-adapted vaccines and boosters over the next two years, the spokesperson for Germany’s development ministry said. Almost $1.9 billion will now “be invested so that health systems are better prepared for future waves or pandemics,” they added.
This would also include a focus on more equitable global access to vaccines, including promoting producing shots in Africa, “which Germany is strongly advocating”.
They also said that the money could be used to help catch up with routine immunisation for children. Millions were missed during the pandemic, putting them at risk of deadly diseases like measles and diptheria.
(Reporting by Jennifer Rigby and Andreas Rinke; editing by David Evans)
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