Gates Foundation, TikTok pledge $20 million to help Africa fight COVID-19

Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, speaks at a conference under the motto 'Reach every child' of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi) in Berlin, Germany, 27 Janaury 2015. Among the members of the vaccination alliance are governments, vaccine manufacturers, NGOs, as well as health and research organizations. PHOTO: BERND VON JUTRCZENKA/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, speaks at a past event. (Photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic in lower-income countries in Africa received a boost after Gavi, the vaccine alliance, received pledges of $10 million each from social media platform TikTok and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

According to Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley the donations will enable the alliance to deploy vaccines against COVID-19, after they have been developed, and help them prevent a potentially disastrous impact on immunisation programmes across the developing world.

“The results we’ve achieved over the past two decades have only been possible thanks to the unique combination of expertise from our global public sector partners and the business acumen, creativity and entrepreneurship of the private sector. We thank TikTok for their support and the work they are doing in combating COVID-19, and look forward to even closer collaboration in the future,” Dr. Berkley said.

Dr. Berkley told Reuters in a past interview that he was encouraged by the number of possible COVID-19 vaccines in the early stages of development globally.

“Today there are 76 vaccines on WHO website listed, of which six are already in clinical trials, but actually the number is substantially higher than that, it is well over 100,” Dr. Berkley said.

He added that the next challenge was to standardise criteria to allow health experts to narrow down the number of vaccines to a smaller viable number.

“What is going to be important is being able to make those choices based on science and not politics.”

The alliance plans to distribute $29 million to support health systems in 13 lower-income countries to fight COVID-19.

Gavi is a public-private partnership formed to ensure new and underused vaccines are quickly made available to prevent infectious diseases and strengthen global health security.

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