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GAVI Alliance unveils a $1B plan to manufacture vaccines in Africa


GAVI Alliance

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, announced on Thursday that a new program would make up to $1 billion available to increase vaccine manufacturing in Africa.

Aiming to combat diseases like cholera and malaria that kill hundreds of thousands of African children annually, the "African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator" will use locally produced vaccines to combat the disparity in vaccine access that afflicted the continent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The African Union (AU) has established a goal for the continent's vaccine production sector to deliver more than 60% of the vaccine doses needed on the continent by 2040, an increase from the current level of about 1%. Since COVID-19, numerous initiatives have been started all over the continent; however, some have failed due to high start-up expenses, especially as demand decreased as the pandemic subsided.

The accelerator is financed by funds left over from the COVAX project, a program launched during the pandemic to assist in getting vaccinations to the world's poorest nations. Following discussions with the African Union, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other partners, the Gavi board has approved it. The Africa CDC and France are scheduled to host an event in June 2024 to officially launch the program.

During the Gavi meeting in Accra, Ghana, the board also approved plans to allocate approximately $290 million towards "catch-up" immunizations for children who experienced significant disruptions due to pandemic-related events. Additionally, a $500 million "first response" fund was approved to guarantee funds are available promptly in the event of a new pandemic.

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