Urgent support needed: $17 billion to help vaccinate the world
**The final signed letter, with 81 members of Congress in support, is here. Thank you for your advocacy!**
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen what the world can accomplish when we work together. The public and private sector, supported by an influx of government funding, rapidly developed multiple vaccines that can reduce the worst effects of COVID-19 and save lives. Unfortunately, the solidarity we saw in the scientific community has not translated to the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
A new bicameral (both House and Senate) letter is circulating calling on the U.S. Congressional Appropriators to direct $17 billion in supplemental funding to this year’s appropriations bills to support American-led efforts to vaccinate the world. This is a small investment in the scheme of things when you consider the lives this would save and the potential future variants of COVID-19 it could prevent.
High-income countries like the U.S. have secured enough vaccines for residents to receive 3 doses for free—meanwhile less than 8 percent of people who live in Africa are fully vaccinated. Whether we look at vaccination rates by geography or income level, the disparity is immense, and growing. Acting now to vaccinate the world is not only the morally correct decision, but the most cost-effective strategy to ending the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all.
House of Representatives
The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, or ACT-A, determined it needs $23 billion over the next 12 months for all four of its pillars of COVID response: vaccines, diagnostics, treatments, and health system support. However, this estimate does not include the full cost of last-mile delivery of vaccines. Based on our extensive analysis and its own experience delivering COVID-19 vaccines, CARE estimates that at minimum, it costs $11 to fully vaccinate a person, and the cost is even higher in hard-to-reach contexts. This amounts to approximately an additional $40 billion to reach ACT-A’s targeted population of 3.6 billion people, bringing the total cost to reach 70% vaccination to $63 billion.
Low-and-middle-income countries will likely need donors to cover at least half of the total $40 billion, or $20 billion, needed for delivery costs. The $20 billion for delivery and the $23 billion needed for ACT-A, means donor countries need to step up to give $43 billion to end the pandemic for us all. Using the OECD-DAC recommended formula, the U.S. fair share of this contribution is $17 billion.