Gavi Approves $1 Billion Investment in the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator

The Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) has given the green light to the "African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator" (AVMA), a groundbreaking initiative set to fortify Africa's vaccine manufacturing industry. Approved during a Gavi board meeting in Accra on December 7, this initiative will see Gavi injecting $1 billion into Africa's vaccine production sector over the next decade.

This move aligns with Africa's ambitious goal to locally manufacture 60% of routine immunizations by 2040, addressing the stark vaccine access disparities highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AVMA aims to combat diseases such as cholera and malaria, which disproportionately affect African children, by leveraging domestically-produced vaccines. The African Union (AU) has set an ambitious target for the continent to supply over 60% of its vaccine doses by 2040, a significant increase from the current 1%. While various initiatives have emerged across Africa post-COVID-19, some faced challenges due to high startup costs amid diminishing demand.

Funding for the AVMA stems from unallocated resources within the COVAX initiative, designed during the pandemic to ensure vaccine access for the world's poorest nations. The Gavi board's approval, following consultations with the AU, Africa CDC, and other partners, positions the AVMA to launch in June 2024 at an event hosted by the Africa CDC and France.

David Kinder, Gavi's Director of Development Finance, emphasized the initiative's primary goal of establishing a sustainable African vaccine industry over the next decade. The accelerator will compensate manufacturers upon World Health Organization approval and provide additional payments for successful bids to supply vaccines through Gavi, promoting competitive pricing for African-made vaccines.

In addition to the vaccine manufacturing accelerator, the Gavi board approved plans for approximately $290 million to "catch up" routine immunizations for children affected by pandemic-related disruptions. Furthermore, a $500 million "first response" fund was sanctioned to ensure immediate financial support during future pandemics.

The creation of the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator marks a crucial step in the AU's prolonged efforts to mitigate the risk of its member nations being at the back of the line during vaccine shortages, as witnessed during the COVID-19 crisis. This investment signals a significant stride towards fostering self-sufficiency and resilience in Africa's vaccine manufacturing capabilities, aligning with the broader vision of securing equitable vaccine access for the continent.


Article by Nyokabi Wanjiku

Photo/Africa CDC