The digital fundraiser event that took place on Monday 4 May was hosted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who started things off by pledging €1 billion. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised €500 million and €525 million respectively from their countries. Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez contributed €125 million, with €50 million going to the Global Vaccine Alliance and €75 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. the largest national pledges coming from Japan and Norway. Turkey’s contribution will be announced later in the month.
A total of €7.36 billion of the €7.5 billion sought had been pledged by the close of the fundraising event. And according to the European Commission €4 billion of the total is for the development of a vaccine, €2 billion for treatments, and €1.5 billion for the manufacture of tests.
"These new tools will help us to fully control the pandemic and must be treated as global public goods available and affordable for all," Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, said.
The event was co-chaired by the likes of Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Japan and Saudi Arabia. China will be represented by its ambassador to the EU. The US declined to take part.
Ahead of the conference, many participants signed an open letter that read: “We support the WHO and we are delighted to join forces with experienced organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.”
It went on to warn that even if the fundraising target was met, more money would still be needed to make the vaccine ‘available, accessible and affordable to all’. "If we can develop a vaccine that is produced by the world, for the whole world, this will be a unique global public good of the 21st century," the letter read.
Commenting on the ‘team effort’ that would be involved in such a huge undertaking, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “The ultimate measure of success will not be how fast we can develop tools. It will be how equally we can distribute them. None of us can accept a world in which some people are protected while others remain exposed.”