The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), released a comprehensive report today highlighting the immense impact of the U.S. Government’s Initiative for Global Vaccine Access, known as Global VAX.
This initiative represents a unified government endeavour to assist countries in overcoming challenges related to COVID-19 vaccine delivery and uptake. Since its inception in 2021, Global VAX has played a pivotal role in expediting the global COVID-19 vaccine rollout, mitigating the pandemic’s devastating effects in some of the world’s most vulnerable regions.
With the increase in global COVID-19 vaccine supplies in 2021 due to significant donations, the U.S. government launched Global VAX, consolidating all its efforts in nations facing difficulties in vaccine distribution and acceptance.
Global VAX pledged over $1.8 billion and offered technical support and diplomatic engagement to rapidly enhance vaccine accessibility and public confidence in over 120 partner countries.
In each nation, Global VAX implementing agencies collaborated closely with local governments, multilateral and donor partners, and communities to prioritise strategies that would bolster country-led vaccination programmes and align with goals targeting high-risk populations.
These high-risk groups included healthcare workers, immunocompromised individuals, and residents in remote areas.
These concerted efforts yielded remarkable results. By June 1, 2023, low-income countries had increased COVID-19 vaccine coverage for the full primary series by nearly 25 percentage points since Global VAX’s inception.
In Africa, COVID-19 vaccination rates surged more than sixfold between December 1, 2021, and June 1, 2023, rising from 4.5 percent of the population receiving the complete primary series to 30 percent. Achieving this acceleration in COVID-19 vaccination in less than two years would have been unattainable without the support of- Global VAX.
Global VAX capitalised on decades of U.S. government investments in global health and development, uniting the resources of multiple agencies, including the United States Agency for International Development, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of State, the Department of Defence, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Peace Corps, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, the Department of Treasury, and other interagency partners in a landmark whole-of-government initiative.
This approach enabled Global VAX to harness the complete spectrum of U.S. government global health programmes, prioritising the most effective and efficient strategies to address the evolving COVID-19 crisis.