Kabul: Building on a pledge of SEK 2450 million to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC), the Swedish government has now donated the first of a pledge of three million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. The first deliveries from this donation have now arrived in Afghanistan (124,800 doses) and Kyrgyzstan (228,000 doses).
This comes even as the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) recorded 319 new positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and 28 deaths in the past 24 hours. The total number of cases now stand at 147,473, while the death toll is 6,736.
“The Government of Sweden is one of the original six donors to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and has steadily increased its support to global vaccination over the past 20 years. In addition to its already-substantial funding of COVAX, Sweden’s dose donations will help COVAX reach some of those in urgent need of protection against COVID-19,” added Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which manages the COVAX Facility and the Gavi COVAX AMC. “We welcome this act of solidarity and understanding that, when it comes to COVID-19, no-one is safe until everyone is safe.”
“Sweden supports a robust multilateral response to the COVID-19 pandemic through COVAX. We have provided over USD 280 million, making Sweden the largest contributor to COVAX per capita. Sweden is also contributing to global equitable distribution of vaccines by donating at least 3 million non-earmarked doses to COVAX in 2021. COVAX, in partnership with the WHO, decides how doses are allocated, ensuring distribution in a fair and equitable manner where doses are received where they are needed the most. Decisions are based on a broad assessment of the needs, risks and readiness of participating countries. Sweden does not provide guidance where doses should be allocated,” said Per Olsson Fridh, Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden.
These doses donated by Sweden are produced by the AstraZeneca manufacturing network. Donating through COVAX helps to increase vaccine coverage, ensures that no dose goes to waste, and helps to bring an end to the acute phase of the pandemic.
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The design and operationalization of the COVAX dose sharing mechanism is being supported by a contribution of CAD 5 million from Canada.
The donation of doses via COVAX are enabled via tripartite agreements between Gavi, manufacturers, and donating countries. Shipments to countries are enabled by COVAX delivery partners UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Over 600 million doses have already been pledged to COVAX by a number of countries in response to short-term supply challenges and the rise of new variants. Working with donor governments to operationalize growing numbers of dose-sharing pledges, COVAX expects to see more deliveries of donated doses in the weeks and months to come.