Gavi, Vaccine Alliance Agrees $1 Billion Investment in Vaccine Production in Africa

A child receives a WHO-recommended hepatitis B vaccine

The board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has approved the creation of a new African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator (AVMA), a funding tool that will provide more than $1 billion to support sustainable vaccine production in Africa.

The board’s decision marks a historic reversal of previous efforts in which the agency’s massive vaccine procurement budget was concentrated on the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in Asia, Europe and the Americas, which could offer the lowest cost per dose for vaccines purchased from Gavi, due to economies of scale.

While such an approach may have seemed cost-effective a decade ago, it has also increased the concentration of vaccine production in certain regions of the world—and among a few key vaccine producers, leaving little room for new omers. This, in turn, left Africa on its toes when the COVID pandemic created global demand for a new vaccine that only one or two South African manufacturers had the experience to produce.

At a two-day meeting this week in Accra, Ghana, Gavi’s board also agreed to create a new $500 million First Response Fund to provide immediately available funding to purchase new vaccines in the event of a future pandemic. The lack of available funds, at first, also pushed the Gavi-backed COVAX vaccine facility to the back of the line for the supply of COVID vaccines, as rich and middle-income countries queued up to stockpile national supplies in the first months after COVID vaccines became available.

New initiatives have been launched, but they need to be sustained

In the wake of COVID, around 30 new vaccine initiatives have been announced on the African continent, involving various aspects of late-stage research and development, active ingredient manufacturing, and fill and completion. But sustaining these new efforts requires continued support and investment from national governments, research communities, multilateral agencies – and most importantly, vaccine purchasers.

In the wake of COVID-19, around 30 investment initiatives have been announced for vaccine production in Africa.

“Gavi, as one of the largest purchasers of vaccines in the world, is thereby sending a powerful signal to global markets that it will support vaccine production in Africa,” the agency said in a statement on the board’s decision.

“AVMA aims to make up to $1 billion available to manufacturers at key points in the development process as a way to offset high start-up costs and provide confidence in demand. By focusing on “priority” antigens, product profiles and vaccine platforms, and building clear incentives for both “fill and finish” and drug substance manufacturing, the AVMA will also support global vaccine markets by targeting clear unmet needs and will help establish a thriving, sustainable, holistic African vaccine manufacturing ecosystem.”

African Public Health welcomed the move.

“Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance AVMA proposal has the potential to be a big step in the right direction and a powerful signal to other donors and investors that African vaccine production has a bright future,” said the African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative (AVMI) on a new Gavi platform .

“Lessons from the pandemic have highlighted the need to put vaccine equity at the heart of pandemic preparedness, prevention and response.”

“Strong #African vaccine production The industry is an opportunity, not a threat,” he added African Centers for Disease Control in a post on X (Twitter).

Image Credits: Online/Twitter Dilemma .

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