The ACT-Accelerator (ACT-A) is designed to accelerate the development, production and equitable global access to safe, quality, effective, and affordable COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. Developing a vaccine against COVID-19 is one of the most pressing and complex challenge of our time. The global pandemic has already caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and disrupted the lives of billions more. Many leaders have called for a global solution to address a global issue and for a shared endeavour that involves the best shared science to resolve in the shortest possible time a pandemic involving every region and territory on the planet.
The COVAX Pillar was created by Gavi,CEPI and WHO to act as a platform to support the research, development, manufacturing and delivery of a wide range of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, and to negotiate their pricing, procurement and fair allocation. All participating countries, regardless of income levels, will have equal access to these vaccines once they are developed. The initial aim is to have 2 billion doses available by the end of 2021, which should be enough to protect high risk and vulnerable people, as well as frontline healthcare workers.
Civil society and community representation and voice is critical across the whole ACT-Accelerator to: to bring their skills and experiences to the collaborative discussions and to ensure a strong independent voice for equity, accountability and to highlight the disproportionate impact and priority needs of affected communities, particularly the poorest and most marginalized.
In August, the COVAX Pillar lead agencies – Gavi, CEPI and WHO – announced a call for the nomination of 10 civil society and community representatives to be involved across 10 separate working groups within the COVAX Pillar. The selection process was designed and conducted by a civil society Selection Committee, co-chaired by the GAVI CSO Steering Committee and The Platform for ACT-A Civil Society and Community Representatives consisting of committee members from 10 organizations from 7 countries and 4 continents. Applications for the 10 CSO seats came from 159 candidates, over 6 regions. COVAX CSO candidates were selected based on a range of considerations: technical expertise, CSO experience and connectedness, knowledge of immunization and engagement of CSOs in the immunization space, and the detailed technical criteria outlined in the call for applications for each workstream. Diversity in terms of gender and geography was also a consideration. In addition, all candidates were thoroughly assessed by the COVAX workstream leads and leadership.
The final candidates chosen by the CSO Selection Committee have been agreed by the Covax lead agencies and we are therefore pleased to jointly announce the following CSO representatives for the ACT-Accelerator Vaccine Pillar (COVAX), which will include the 3 workstreams lead by CEPI, WHO and GAVI, including Development & Manufacturing (CEPI led); Access & Allocation, and Vaccine Strategy (WHO led) and Procurement & delivery at Scale (GAVI led):
These civil society and community representatives will work with and be supported by the Gavi CSO Steering Committee and the Platform for ACT-A Civil Society and Community Representatives to consult with broader civil society and connect with civil society and community representatives across the ACT-A.
Lisa Hilmi, CORE Group, USA – co-chair (on Behalf of GAVI CSO Steering Committee)
Mike Podmore, STOPAIDS, UK – co-chair (On behalf of Platform for ACT-A Civil Society and Community Representatives)