France will double its contribution to the Vaccine Alliance
Global health – Global Vaccine Summit 2020 – Message from M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic
Paris, 4 June 2020
(Check against delivery)
I would like to begin by thanking the United Kingdom for organizing this Global Vaccine Summit. A few months on from the success achieved in Lyon to replenish the resources of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, we must collectively do what’s necessary for the other essential pillar of global health: equal access to vaccines for everyone.
Twenty years ago the Vaccine Alliance was born out of a simple idea which has transformed millions of lives: make new, effective vaccines accessible and thus protect children all over the world from infectious diseases; ensure that everyone, whichever country they are born in, has equal access to vitally important vaccines.
These past 20 years have seen women and men committed to making this idea a reality by bringing together public and private actors and combining forces to speed things up and make a difference on the ground.
They have seen a generation of people better protected and able to build their lives. Seven hundred and sixty million children vaccinated. Thirteen million lives saved.
They have seen the fight against inequalities of destiny, which – let’s remember – owes so much to Nelson Mandela’s commitment in the first decade of this century. He refused to accept a child’s life or death depending too often on the accessibility of vaccines in his or her country of birth.
The story isn’t over. And it’s our turn to write it. The challenges remain colossal. We know what they are. Many low- and middle-income countries have made huge strides by improving immunization coverage.
Yet as WHO recalled a few days ago:
The targets set for eliminating diseases such as measles, rubella and maternal and neonatal tetanus may not be met if something isn’t done, and fast, between now and the end of 2020.
Tens of millions of children in the world are still not receiving the vaccines they need. And they are most often the ones exposed to conflict, insecurity and every kind of inequality.
The COVID-19 pandemic only amplifies these challenges, making them even more serious and more urgent. By weakening vaccination services worldwide, the crisis is exposing nearly 80 million children less than a year old to diseases such as diphtheria, measles and polio.
It is therefore imperative for efforts to be stepped up to support the health systems of the most fragile countries and thus enable them to maintain vaccination programmes. That’s the first, major challenge of this replenishment conference.
Gavi needs resources today to continue carrying out its mission, i.e. vaccinating children, young people, teenagers and adults, thus saving eight million more lives in the next five years. Our fight against coronavirus must not prevent us from winning this other battle. It is vital to keep up efforts for vaccination against other diseases in order to avoid the scourge of disease outbreaks for diseases we know sadly all too well such as polio, measles and others which can be terribly deadly, such as Ebola and yellow fever.
France will play its full part in this effort, which must be historic in order to address the challenges ahead of us, with an additional effort of €250 million, which brings our total contribution over the period 2021-2026 to €500 million and adds to our increased mobilization alongside the World Health Organization, the Global Fund and the African health systems.
The second challenge is to ensure right now that a vaccine against COVID-19, when it’s discovered, benefits everyone, because it will be a global public good. That’s one of the key goals of the ACT-A initiative which we’ve been promoting together with the World Health Organization, the European Commission, the United Kingdom and many others and which is being implemented again today, through this conference. That’s why France will be ready, as the Alliance is asking, to increase its contribution by €100 million when an effective vaccine against COVID-19 is available, in order to ensure its distribution at an affordable price while maintaining the necessary level of commitment against other diseases.
What’s at stake now, during this conference, is what underpinned the Alliance’s foundation: the right of everyone to health. The basic right of each person, whatever country they live in, to enjoy the same opportunity to build their future. This is at the heart of the battle against all inequalities, and it’s a fundamental choice for the world, for today’s and tomorrow’s world. For the world we want to build after this pandemic. We commit to that.