Asian Philanthropists pool US $1.5 million to contribute 600,000 doses towards COVAX global COVID-19 vaccine target

Asian Philanthropists pool US $1.5 million to contribute 600,000 doses towards COVAX global COVID-19 vaccine target

PRESS RELEASE: Singapore, 31 May 2021 –The Asia Philanthropy Circle (APC) successfully coordinated US $1.5 million amongst its philanthropic members and community to enable access to much-needed COVID-19 vaccines in Asia through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) facility. The amount will be matched by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance with funds provided by a public charity[1], bringing the total funding to US $3 million.

APC’s contribution joins worldwide commitments from government and private sectors and will go towards securing and delivering around 600,000 vaccine doses for Asia, as well as towards helping the Gavi COVAX AMC reach its global target of 1.8 billion doses.

“APC is very glad to help facilitate this collective effort by philanthropists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, and Taiwan,” said APC Co-Chair and CEO Laurence Lien. “While our members are already conducting their own COVID-19 related efforts within their own communities, they also wanted to take further action in ensuring vaccines can be made available to the ones who need them the most as soon as possible, especially in Asia where the cases are rising sharply.”

The pooled fund includes contributions from ten philanthropists and philanthropic organisations, including MAC3 Impact Philanthropies, Lien Foundation, Quantedge Advancement Initiative, Li Foundation, and Ishk Tolaram Foundation, amongst others.

APC is a membership-based platform of philanthropists active in Asia. This endeavour to support the vaccines rollout was first mooted by its members following an online dialogue organised by the platform in early 2021 on the challenges faced in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the organisation managing the COVAX Facility, pools demand from different countries to effectively negotiate vaccine procurement and deployment. They highlighted the significant shortfall in funding hindering the equitable distribution of vaccines across the world and the stark needs in Low- to Middle-income Countries (LMICs)—which remain hardest hit by the pandemic. This spurred APC members to come together to help plug the gap.

The donors to this effort hope that their contribution can help address the widespread impact of the pandemic towards communities in Asia. Besides targeting the immediate effects of the health epidemic, the foundations and philanthropists have also been active in supporting livelihoods, access to education and other immediate assistance for vulnerable groups during this period.  Assisting the supply of the vaccines to LMICs is currently the best hope in bringing the pandemic to an end and improving the current global situation.

“We must all pull together—governments and the private sector from around the world,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance during the global launch of the Gavi COVAX AMC Investment Opportunity. “We cannot afford to fail. Leaving any countries behind just gives the virus more of a chance to mutate and increase the threat. We are only safe if we are all safe. Let us respond to the challenge at hand and prepare for the next one.”

Gavi COVAX AMC aims to raise an additional US $1.3 billion from both government and private funders by June 2021 to secure 1.8 billion doses of vaccines for lower-income economies. 

[1] Subject to execution of a grant agreement

Photo by CDC on Unsplash