By PHEPHILE MOTAU | 2021-02-23
ESWATINI is set to benefit from a pledge of about E60 billion (US$4 billion) made by the United States of America President Joe Biden to the COVAX facility. According to a statement from the US Embassy issued last Thursday, President Biden was taking action to support the world’s most vulnerable and protect Americans from COVID-19. It was stated that using money appropriated by a bipartisan Congressional vote in December 2020, the USA would provide an initial E29.6 billion ($2 billion) contribution to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), the innovative financing instrument of the COVAX facility, which supports access to safe and effective vaccines for 92 low and middle-income economies. Eswatini is part of the 92 countries that will benefit from the COVAX facility. It was stated that the US would also take a leadership role in galvanising further global contributions to COVAX by releasing an additional E29.6 billion ($2 billion) through 2021 and 2022, of which the first over E7.4 billion ($500million) would be made available when existing donor pledges are fulfilled and initial doses delivered to AMC countries. “In close cooperation with Gavi, this additional E29.6 billion ($2 billion) in funding will serve to expand COVAX’s reach. We also call on our G7 and other partners to work alongside Gavi, to bring in billions more in resources to support global COVID-19 vaccination, and to target urgent vaccine manufacturing, supply and delivery needs,” the statement reads. The US said as the virus continued to spread throughout the world, and with new variants emerging, the facts were clear that it was critical that as many people as possible be vaccinated, as quickly as possible. Tomorrow at the G7, the president will announce that he is taking concrete steps to improve the health and the safety of Americans by protecting vulnerable populations worldwide. He will also call on G7 partners to prioritise a sustainable health security financing mechanism aimed at catalysing countries to build the needed capacity to end this pandemic and prevent the next one. Pandemic “COVID-19 has shown us that no nation can act alone in the face of a pandemic. Today, President Biden is taking action to support the world’s most vulnerable and protect Americans from COVID-19,” the statement reads. Finally, at the G7 President Biden will reaffirm the US commitment to global health security and advancing the Global Health Security Agenda. The US said all countries should have the capability to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks. It was stated that the president announced that he would protect the most vulnerable, protecting America as the US’ contribution was designated to help Gavi prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus through vaccine procurement and delivery for the world’s most vulnerable. “In partnership with Gavi, the bulk of these funds will be targeted to support direct vaccine procurement, and a portion will also support broader country readiness and vaccine service delivery,” the statement reads. The contribution has made the US the largest contributor into the COVAX facility. His Majesty King Mswati III on Friday said it was a critical time for countries to work together to curb this pandemic and support the rebuilding of economies. “It has been proven that no country can succeed alone so the very strong participation of others, whether developed or underdeveloped, is very important,” the King said when he delivered the Speech from the Throne while officially opening the 3rd Session of the 11th Parliament. “As we look forward to finding solutions to ending the pandemic, various countries have developed several vaccines. We congratulate them and we are hopeful that these will be made available to the whole world, as coronavirus knows no boundaries. “We have already instructed government to acquire these vaccines for our people as soon as possible. The processes of accessing them have been put in place. However, it may take a while as they are not easily available. Therefore, we are still making concerted efforts to finding the right vaccine that will really deal with this particular problem,” His Majesty the King said.
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