US has so far contributed $2 billion to GAVI for COVAX facility, a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
The information about the contribution was shared by Jeremy Konyndyk, Executive Director of the USAID COVID-19 Task Force on Friday in a special briefing of US Department of State.
"We have given, so far, $2 billion to GAVI for the COVAX Initiative, the COVAX platform, which is facilitating equitable distribution of vaccines around the world," said Mr Konyndyk.
US in total had pledged $4 billion to COVAX, out of which $2 billion so far has been contributed. A total of $500 million will go to support country readiness as not every country always has the facilities and the infrastructure to conduct a vaccination program on this scale, Mr Konyndyk said.
"The vaccine donations that we announced yesterday are going to play an important role in helping Gavi to manage some of the supply gaps that it has been facing due to tight global supply of vaccines," Mr Konyndyk added.
On Thursday, the US had announced that it will allocate the first tranche of 25 million COVID-19 vaccines globally to address potential surges and the needs of the most vulnerable countries affected by the pandemic, including India.
Sharing the framework for the distribution of 80 million vaccines, the White House press statement said that 75 per cent of vaccine share will be given through COVAX while 25 per cent share for immediate needs and to help with surges around the world.
Based on this framework, the United States plans to send our first tranche of 25 million doses. Nearly 19 million will be shared through the COVAX initiative.
As many as seven million vaccines will be shared with Asian countries including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.
Approximately six million will be given to South and Central America. Nearly five million doses will be given to Africa. As many as six million will be targeted toward regional priorities and partner recipients, including Mexico, Canada, and the Republic of Korea.
The White House statement said that the sharing of millions of US vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the US government.
Stressing on the importance of COVAX facility, Mr Konyndyk said: "We see GAVI and the COVAX platform as really, really important partners in this vaccine effort, and their ability to do global distribution and the sort of logistics infrastructure, the legal and regulatory agreements that they have with countries around the world, are a huge asset, and they'll be a critical partner for us in this."
"So, we're supporting them both with the doses that are being announced this - have been announced this week, but also with $2 billion that we contributed to them back in March, and additional future funding that will be - that we'll be releasing to them over the coming year," added Mr Konyndyk.
US will also be investing heavily in country readiness to distribute and administer vaccines. Earlier this year, US had put $75 million across numerous countries.
"We will be putting considerably more money into that in the months ahead under - with some of the funding that USAID received under the American Rescue Plan," Mr Konyndyk said.
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