Brunei signs on for COVID-19 vaccine access plan

Aziz Idris

The Friends of the COVAX Facility (FOF) strongly supports vaccine multilateralism and the goal of ensuring affordable, fair and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for all.

The COVAX Facility is about to set a precedent of multilateral cooperation and solidarity and the FOF firmly believes in the importance and impact of this global initiative.

“We support the facility’s goal to deliver two billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by 2021, and welcome that it currently manages the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio,” FOF said in a statement, adding that it is pleased to have participated collaboratively in the facility’s co-creation.

Brunei Darussalam and Singapore are among the Southeast Asian countries that have formally signed up with COVAX, a COVID-19 vaccine access plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO).

FOF members have expressed their intent to participate in the facility and some have already submitted legally-binding agreements.

“We will continue supporting Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO to operationalise the facility,” an FOF statement read.

Ending the COVID-19 pandemic requires a bold, collective effort, FOF affirmed.

“We encourage other countries to join this collective global effort to support vaccine multilateralism, and to ensure the unimpeded fair and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.”

The FOF, co-chaired by Singapore and Switzerland, comprises the following countries and the European Union (EU): Australia, Canada, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Sixty-four higher income economies have joined the COVAX Facility, with a further 38 economies expected to sign in the coming days.

These self-financing economies, which include 29 from ‘Team Europe’ participating as part of an agreement with the European Commission, join 92 lower income economies eligible for financial support through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment.

This means a total of 156 economies, representing nearly two-thirds of the global population, are now committed to or eligible to receive vaccines through the facility.