Several billions of dollars left in a scheme to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to the world’s poorest could be diverted to prepare for other pandemics or to support vaccine manufacturing in Africa, the scheme’s partners said.
The COVAX initiative, run by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), has $2.6 billion left in its coffers as the emergency phase of the pandemic draws to a close, according to documents seen by Reuters and two sources close to the scheme.
The initiative is set to wind up at the end of this year, although some of its work will continue. With demand for COVID-19 vaccines dwindling, the partners are now working out how best to use the remaining cash – a significant sum in global health – alongside the donors who originally pledged it.
Around $600 million was given as part of a “contingency” fund in case the pandemic escalated again. The remaining $2 billion has come back to COVAX after drugmakers agreed to refund deals agreed for vaccines at the height of the pandemic.