COVID AND COVAX
- Congress recently provided more than $11 billion for America’s global COVID response, which we’ll use to save lives by supporting broad and equitable vaccine access; providing aid to mitigate secondary impacts of COVID, like hunger; and helping countries boost their pandemic preparedness.
- The United States is the world’s largest single donor supporting COVAX. COVAX is a platform to provide equitable global access to and distribution of safe, effective, and high-quality WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccines. We’ve already donated $2 billion donation to the COVAX program and have pledged another $2 billion that we’ll provide as other countries fulfill their own pledges.
- Our support represents nearly forty percent of all commitments to the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). The COVAX AMC was created to ensure that the 92 low-and middle-income economies that cannot fully afford to pay for COVID-19 vaccines still have access at the same time as higher-income self-financing countries. Gavi has been a longstanding U.S. partner in distributing other safe and effective vaccines around the world.
- COVAX has committed to providing 8.4 million vaccine doses to Sri Lanka, which will cover 20 percent of Sri Lanka’s population.Sri Lanka received its first delivery of the COVAX vaccine in March – 264,000 doses. It is slated to receive 1,440,000 more doses by the end of May, with the remainder of arriving in the second half of 2021. All these doses are donor-funded and provided at no cost to Sri Lanka.
- The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access(COVAX) is a global initiative aimed at providing equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) through donations. COVAX aims to distribute 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, including to 92 LMICs, with the goal of immunizing at least 20% of people in all countries. So far, COVAX has shipped more than 37 million vaccines to 90 countries.
- The initiative is co-led by the World Health Organization, the Global Alliance for Vaccines (GAVI), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), in close partnership with UNICEF.
- COVAX only distributes vaccines that WHO has listed for emergency use (EUL), which currently are Pfizer/BioNtech, AstraZeneca-SKBio(manufactured in South Korea), and AstraZeneca Covishield (manufactured in India). WHO is on track to EUL other vaccines through June (see status of WHO EUL by vaccine).
- U.S. contributions to COVAX: The U.S. has pledged $4 billion to the COVAXfacility (through GAVI), which is far more than any other country (see government donations to COVAX). The U.S. donated $2 billion upfront and will donate an additional $2 billion as other countries fulfill their own pledges.
- Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka is expecting at least 8 million vaccinesfrom the COVAX facility, but has only received 264,000 doses so far (on March 7). The facility pledged 1.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine to Sri Lanka by the end of May (see COVAX first round allocations by country).
USAID COVID ASSISTANCE TO SRI LANKA
- USAID has committed $7.6 million to date, plus the in-kind donation of 200 portable ventilators to Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 response and recovery.
- Donated 200 portable ventilators: In addition to the donated ventilators, USAID (through FHI 360) has trained more than 1200 clinicians from 95 health facilities on COVID case management and ventilator use. Plans are also underway to: 1) develop a management information system (MIS) to track the ventilators and monitor their use and maintenance needs; and 2) add emergency care and ventilator use to Sri Lanka’s national pre-service training program for new doctors and nurses.
- Redirected $2.4 million to support COVID-19 response and recovery: This support includes modifying existing USAID activities to continue during the pandemic (e.g., providing online training and webinars) and the introduction of new activities to support the COVID-19 response and recovery (e.g., supporting the Election Commission to hold safe elections during a pandemic; producing a handbook for journalists on reporting on COVID-19; and providing locally-produced PPE, thermal scanners, handwashing stations, hygiene kits, disinfection sprayers, etc. to hospitals, government offices, schools, and communities).
- Reprogrammed $5.2 million in supplemental funding to support the government’s response and to help civil society and the private sector with the second- and third-order effects of the pandemic: With USAID funding, WHO has played a key coordination role in Sri Lanka’s COVID response including organizing expert brainstorming meetings, sharing technical recommendations and guidelines with the MOH, assisting the MOH to document its response, and co-chairing monthly Health Sector meetings with key stakeholders. WHO has also supported lab strengthening by procuring PCR test kits at a lower negotiated price. UNICEF helped establish four maternity isolation units for COVID-19 positive pregnant women and helped schools reopen safely by printing and distributing guidelines for reopening and providing handwashing stations and sanitizer to schools.
- In June 2020, the United States donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other materials to the Disaster Management Centre, to contribute to Sri Lanka’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. The donation is part of the “All of America” approach to combating COVID-19 and will help strengthen Sri Lanka’s readiness to respond to public health emergencies. The U.S. Department of Defense funded the donation, which includes more than 48,000 masks, safety goggles, and isolation gowns with hoods. All items were purchased in Sri Lanka in order to champion Sri Lankan businesses as they recover from COVID-19’s economic impact.
- Also in June 2020, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) handed over a U.S.-funded COVID-19 test kit to the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo. The test kit carries supplies to conduct 2,000 tests. Valued at an estimated $118,000, the kit contains a RT-PCR machine, the most reliable and efficient technology utilized for COVID-19 testing to date, and accessories such as re-agents, PPE, and other essential safety tools.
- In October 2020, the United States provided a donation that included 23,000 masks, 24,000 nitrile gloves, 600 isolation gowns with hoods, 60 infrared thermometers, 50 portable oxygen concentrators with a large supply of expendable equipment to support their operation, and disinfectants. The total value of donation was $191,000. The donation was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. All items were procured locally in keeping with U.S. efforts to support Sri Lanka’s local businesses and industry as they recover from COVID-19’s economic impact. As part of its private sector engagement with the apparel industry and the Sri Lanka’s Export Development board, the United States has funded capacity building trainings that have aided new exporters in accessing the U.S. market.