Here at ONE, we’ve been campaigning to support Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s third replenishment since the start of the year. Just two months into our campaign, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Just because COVID-19 is dominating headlines doesn’t mean the risk of other diseases goes away. So, during this unprecedented time, Gavi has stepped up to continue routine immunisation, protect healthcare workers with PPE, perform training, and fund diagnostic tests. Countries around the world are working together to fund Gavi to make sure that people everywhere can access the vaccinations they need to live healthy lives.
With its proven ability to deliver vaccines at scale and its commitment to helping reduce the burden of this pandemic on fragile health systems, Gavi will be a crucial partner in distributing a COVID-19 vaccine when available, and making sure it is affordable and accessible to all.
Take a look at the incredible work our campaigners, supporters and activists did to ensure pledges for Gavi:
In the UK, we kicked off our campaigning on Gavi by taking our message to the party conference season. Our Youth Ambassadors delivered their message on the importance of vaccine access to Parliament for their biggest day of action. Our brilliant activists met with new and returning MPs and, most importantly, secured support for life-saving vaccines across the board. Our hard work paid off and on the 29 April, the UK pledged to support Gavi. The UK’s support will help immunise 75 million children.
In the U.S., we launched our advocacy in support of Gavi with ONE activists and supporters from around the country sending hundreds of letters to the Trump administration. These letters were delivered to USAID’s Global Health Bureau in Washington in early January. We were pleasantly surprised when shortly thereafter, the administration’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal called for full funding for Gavi and a US$1.16 billion multi-year pledge. While Congress has the ultimate say in final funding appropriated, this pledge is what ONE had been calling for, and sent a strong signal that the United States would keep its full commitment to Gavi.
In late February, 160 activists from 45 states (plus DC!) came together for the 2020 ONE Power Summit, where we had 214 meetings with senators, representatives, and their staff on Capitol Hill, and dropped off policy information to the rest of Congress, in support of Gavi. This, along with continued advocacy, helped build support and introduction of two congressional resolutions, H.Res. 861 & S.Res. 511, calling for full support of Gavi ahead of the pledging conference. Our advocacy will continue this year, as we call on Congress to make sure that full funding for Gavi is included in the FY21 budget appropriations.
ONE supporters in Canada came out in strong support for Gavi. In February, joined by a number of other NGOs, ONE supporters took to Parliament Hill and met with over 60 Members of Parliament and their staff to discuss Canada’s foreign aid budget and the importance of Gavi and global immunisation. In light of COVID-19, Canadians understand that investment in vaccines is more important than ever and nearly 8,000 have shown their support by signing ONE’s petition for Gavi. After lockdown orders were put in place, our supporters took to Twitter asking all party leaders to show support for Gavi. On May 12, Canada’s Minister of International Development Karina Gould announced Canada’s pledge of CA$600 million to Gavi, enough to buy life-saving vaccine kits for 16 million children.
Across the African continent, we set out to achieve three key things: call for African governments to increase domestic financing for vaccinations, engage in conversations and build a fact-based narrative around vaccines, and reinforce the role of vaccines as a key player in strengthening health systems in Africa. To do this, we hosted a Twitter chat between Aya Chebbi, AU Youth Envoy, and Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi where they discussed the importance of immunisation and the effect that COVID-19 may have on African countries. We also had 24 articles covering our objectives published in media outlets in 12 countries across the continent.
In Belgium, Youth Ambassadors were at the heart of our Gavi campaign, raising awareness with both members of the public and EU policymakers about Gavi’s incredible work. In March, our young activists led a Gavi Day of Action around the EU Institutions district. They collected tens of signatures to our petition, mass-tweeted at key decision-makers, and used their creativity to say #VaccinesWork! They also had the opportunity to interview Gavi Managing Director’s Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao on the importance of immunisation.
To mark World Immunization Week, Youth Ambassadors went the extra mile by phoning, emailing, and tweeting (in 12 different languages!) at over 200 members of the European Parliament (MEPs), asking them to sign onto a letter targeted at the EU Commission. In just three weeks, they secured over 60 MEP’s signatures in support of the letter urging the president of the European Commission and the commissioner for international partnerships to contribute to Gavi’s full replenishment. Alongside our young activists, our incredibly dedicated ONE supporters amplified our message across Europe by signing ONE’s petition to world leaders, tweeting key decision-makers, and rallying behind an open letter urging the EU Commission’s president to make an ambitious contribution to Gavi. And our hard work paid off: on the 4 June, the EU played its part in contributing to Gavi’s full replenishment, thus helping protect millions of more children from infectious disease in the next five years and showing global solidarity when it’s most needed!
In March, several of our Youth Ambassadors held advocacy meetings with French candidates in the municipal elections. They explained the importance of funding Gavi and asked them to sign our petition and go on the record with their support for Gavi. During World Immunization Week, our YAs wrote an open letter and recorded a video addressed to French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the 4 May EU pledging conference. Three of our Youth Ambassadors who work in the healthcare sector also wrote a blog on why Gavi is important and pushed for a strong contribution from President Macron ahead of the 4 June pledging conference for Gavi. Finally, with the help of UNICEF and Global Health Advocates, we wrote an op-ed signed by health experts and associations to raise awareness on the importance of immunisation for children. All this campaigning led President Macron to meet our goal during the replenishment summit on 4 June: he pledged €250M on behalf of France, as well as €100M for Gavi’s COVID-19 response fund!
In Germany, we set out to show the German government that it is crucial to everyone, everywhere for Gavi to be fully funded this June. Before lockdowns from COVID-19, our Youth Ambassador Amina participated in a trip to Maputo, Mozambique with Gavi in March. While there, she was able to observe Gavi’s immunisation clinics, speak with the local health workers, and visit the health ministry.
During World Immunization Week, we published an open letter calling on German Development Minister Gerd Müller to agree that every child should have the right to be protected by vaccines. Excitingly, our call was backed by 270 pediatricians! We also partnered with nine prolific German artists and celebrities to film a video asking Minister Müller to support and fund Gavi. In the video, the individuals described their childhood dreams and how these developed during their lives, showing the opportunities a healthy childhood allows.
Germany came out to support Gavi with an early pledge, which was an important signal at the right time. However, in the time since Germany pledged, the global pandemic occurred, which has added a new dimension to Gavi’s work and funding needs. We hope that Germany will build onto its previous commitments and strengthen Gavi’s core work – routine immunisation – and its emerging COVID-19 work equally.
Youth Ambassadors and ONE supporters in Italy brought attention to Gavi’s work with Twitter actions and media hits, with 876 people signing our petition calling for global leaders to support Gavi.
Our team in Italy organised a series of talks for World Immunization Week, which gave our Youth Ambassadors valuable insights into the research, production, and delivery processes vaccines go through before being administered. After a week of learning, our Youth Ambassadors held a virtual lobby meeting with Italian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation Emanuela del Re. As a result, Del Re confirmed her strong support for a global response to the current crisis. She also highlighted the importance of multilateralism and stressed the role of Italy in leading coordinated global action during the crisis. On 4 May, Italy pledged a total of €120 million to Gavi, which includes €50 million for research on COVID-19 related issues.
For World Immunization Week, we shared a video asking our development minister to support Gavi and published two blogs by Youth Ambassadors that also attracted some attention. Thanks to our open letter – which 1,492 people signed – and the YA video, we were invited to digitally deliver the letter and our message. On 4 May, our Youth Ambassadors met with Mette Gonggrijp, who was representing the development minister, to campaign for more money for Gavi. We used this opportunity to promote ONE and our work in Dutch media. On 18 May, we released a video directed towards Prime Minister Mark Rutte, calling for full support for Gavi, and our Youth Ambassadors wrote him letters explaining why investing in Gavi is so crucial. And just two days before the conference, the Gavi petition with 55,712 signatures was handed into Parliament, and specifically to the Commission for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. All this campaigning led Prime Minister Rutte to pledge €325 million, which includes a large contribution for the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), and contributes to Gavi’s full replenishment.
Global Vaccine Summit
At the 2020 Global Vaccine Summit, countries united together in solidarity to pledge US$8.8 billion to Gavi. This incredible amount will enable Gavi to continue its life-saving work ensuring children living in the world’s poorest countries have access to routine immunisations. This money will also help improve health systems, strengthen vaccine supply and distribution chains, and equitably distribute a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available. These areas of work will play a crucial role in ending the global COVID-19 pandemic.