Norway pledges $1bn to global coronavirus vaccination

Norway has pledged $1 billion to help distribute a future coronavirus vaccine to countries around the world at a global donor conference hosted by the European Union.

Norway pledges $1bn to global coronavirus vaccination
Erna Solberg is introduced at the summit by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: Screengrab
The money will go to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, to help fund its work between 2021 and 2030. 
“This conference is an expression of one key fact,” Solberg said during the virtual conference. “A global health crisis can only be pushed back through solidarity and through partnerships between governments, strong multilateral organisations, civil society and the private sector.” 
“As long as the virus is active somewhere, we are at risk everywhere,” she added. “To protect ourselves, we must in fact protect each other.” 
The pledge was part of a total $8 billion (€7.4bn) raised at the pledging event on Monday, which had been co-convened by the European Union, Canada, France, Germany, Italy (also incoming G20 presidency), Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (also holding the G20 presidency), Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. 
“Today the world showed extraordinary unity for the common good. Governments and global health organisations joined forces against coronavirus,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a press release after the pledges were made. 
“With such commitment, we are on track for developing, producing and deploying a vaccine for all.” 
In an interview with Reuters, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg said was unfortunate that the US had not pledged any funds.  
“It is a pity the US is not a part of it. When you are in a crisis, you manage it and you do it jointly with others, she said.
She also said she regretted the US's decision to pull funding from the World Health Organisation. 
“Everyone will certainly evaluate their work at some point and see what could have been done differently,” she told the news agency. “But you do this afterwards, not when you are in the middle of it.”
Norway has provided financial backing to GAVI, a global partnership of private and public organisations focused on increasing access to vaccines in the world's poorest countries, ever since it was founded in 2000.
The $8bn raised fell just a fraction short of the Coronavirus Global Response event, and included a pledge of €1.4bn from the European Commission. 

Member comments

  1. So the EU with a population of 500 million plus, 27 countries, give roughly the same as Norway?

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EU will have vaccine doses for 70 percent of adults ‘by mid-July’

The EU will have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses to cover 70 percent of its adult population by mid-July due to higher production within the bloc, a senior official said on Tuesday.

EU will have vaccine doses for 70 percent of adults 'by mid-July'
This picture taken on February 22, 2021 shows the warehouse of the packaging line of the factory of US multinational pharmaceutical company Pfizer in Puurs. Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP

“Fifty-three factories are producing vaccines in the EU. Our continent is now the largest producer in the world after the United States,” internal markets commissioner Thierry Breton told French daily Le Figaro in an interview.

“I am now certain of how many doses are currently in production and I know how many millions will be delivered each week,” he said.

“This allows me to assure you that we will have by mid-July the number of doses necessary for vaccinating 70 percent of the European Union’s adult population,” he said, citing the threshold many health experts say is necessary to achieve “herd immunity.”

EU governments have faced fierce criticism over the bloc’s joint vaccine procurement efforts, which saw a slow start to its inoculation drive even as programmes raced ahead in Britain and the US.

Already half of American adults have had at least one dose, and as of Monday anyone over 18 can sign up for a shot.

In the EU, by contrast, just over 20 percent of adults have received at least one jab, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Breton insisted that Europe would catch up in the coming months, with production capacity “that will reach 200 million doses a month by this summer.”

But he poured cold water on the idea of using Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine anytime soon, after Germany opened discussions with Moscow this month without waiting for coordinated EU action.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is evaluating Sputnik’s safety and efficiency, but “it still lacks some essential data,” Breton said.

And even if approved, “we’ll have to find production capacity, because the Russians do not have large production sites and are looking for industrial partners in Europe which are already fully mobilised.”

“For all these reasons, I don’t think significant quantities of Sputnik will be available for Europe before the end of 2021,” he said.