President Paul Kagame said the world cannot accept the new coronavirus pandemic to cause double damage, calling on leaders from various sectors to support efforts to develop the vaccines needed.
Government , business and private sector leaders met virtually to raise funds to accelerate the work of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) to help develop Covid-19 vaccines and other diseases.
At the UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit, Kagame told leaders that it was important that leaders do whatever they can to stop the pandemic from causing double harm to people.
“We cannot allow Covid-19 to do double damage by slowing our response to the preventable diseases that cost countless lives each year,” he said in a video conference that convened 35 Heads of State and Government.
Backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Vaccine Alliance kicked off its operations in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the poorest countries in the world.
Kagame said Gavi has had a huge impact on global health, including in Rwanda, since its inception 20 years ago.
“In partnership with Gavi, Rwanda has achieved 95 per cent coverage for the most common vaccine preventable diseases. As a result child mortality has continued to fall,” he noted.
“Today, Covid-19 put the entire world at risk. A safe and effective vaccine would end the pandemic,” Kagame said. “But achieving universal vaccine coverage will require unprecedented innovation in both scientific and manufacturing capacity.”
The Vaccine Alliance said it raised $8.8 billion on Thursday, which will help the organization immunize 300 million more children and save 8 million lives by 2025 in countries where it operates.
“This is a win-win strategy for all stakeholders, which has already proven for new pneumococcal vaccines, saving hundreds of thousands of lives,” Kagame said.