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Director-General’s remarks at media briefing on publication of first round of COVID-19 vaccine allocations through COVAX

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Thank you so much, Olly.

Your Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana,

Excellencies, partners, colleagues and friends,

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening to everyone, and thank you for joining us today.

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted last year, we knew that vaccines would be a vital tool in bringing it under control.

But we also knew from our experience with HIV, the H1N1 pandemic and other diseases that market forces alone would not deliver the equitable distribution of vaccines.

That’s why in April last year we established the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, which includes the COVAX vaccines pillar, a partnership between Gavi, CEPI, Unicef, WHO and others.

When the history of the pandemic is written, I believe that the ACT Accelerator and COVAX will be one of its standout successes.

This is an unprecedented partnership that will not only the change course of the pandemic, but will also change the way the world responds to future health emergencies.

As you know, last week Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire became the first countries to receive doses through COVAX.

And I would like to congratulate His Excellency the President and His Excellency the Minister of Health for their leadership in preparing Ghana for the rollout of vaccines, and the ambitious target that His Excellency the President announced earlier.

Yesterday, Colombia became the first country in the Americas to receive its COVAX deliveries, and today we expect deliveries to Angola, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.

In total, COVAX will deliver 11 million doses this week, and between now and the end of May, 237 million doses of vaccines will be allocated to 142 participating economies and countries in COVAX.

We very much appreciate the support of Germany – and thank you Maria for joining – and other countries who have supported COVAX with the resources it needs.

The distribution of vaccines has not been as equitable as we would have liked, but it has certainly been more equitable than it would have been otherwise.

And we still have many challenges to overcome, including local production barriers related to intellectual property that His Excellency already mentioned.

We must also remember that although vaccines are a powerful tool, they are not the only tool.

Countries must continue using all the tools at their disposal, including diagnostics, therapeutics and the full range of proven public health measures.

But I would like to thank congratulate all our partners for their efforts so far.

We are all in this together, and the only way to respond, recover and rebuild is together.

Thank you so much.

Olly, back to you.