COVID-19: Shell donates $10 million to COVAX
Mordi chukwunonso Esther
Shell, in supporting the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, has made a $10 million donation to COVAX, the global initiative to make vaccines more widely available.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, had called for a global effort to get all people in every nation vaccinated as soon as possible. “No one is safe unless everyone is safe”. The WHO has also adopted the phrase: “With a fast-moving pandemic, no one is safe, unless everyone is safe.”
COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the World Health Organization (WHO); and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). It aims to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to at least 20% of the populations of the world’s 92 poorest countries by the end of 2021. Ghana was the first country to receive vaccines through the COVAX scheme in February.
COVAX brings together governments, global health organisations, manufacturers, scientists, private sector, civil society and philanthropy to ensure people all over the world have access to COVID-19 vaccinations. The initiative co-ordinates efforts to centralise financial donations, order vaccines in bulk and ease distribution to vulnerable people around the world.
“Global equitable access to a vaccine, particularly protecting health-care workers and those most-at-risk is the only way to mitigate the public health and economic impact of the pandemic,” according to COVAX.The pandemic has already caused the deaths of 2.5 million people, disrupted the lives of billions more and destroyed many livelihoods.
Shell supports this global approach to vaccinations as it helps to protect people, health-care systems and economies, while prioritising those that need the vaccine most. The donation of $10 million is symbolic of the estimated cost of vaccinating all Shell staff, their families, contractors and the 500,000 forecourt workers in Shell retail stations. The money will also be used to help lower- and help middle-income countries combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their populations and their health-care systems.
“Shell is a member of society in the 70+ countries where we work,” says Shell’s Vice President Health, Dr Femi Oduneye. “All those countries need vaccinations as part of the global effort to manage the pandemic, and that’s what we are supporting by partnering with governments, NGOs and our peers in the industry.”
Shell has spent around $46 million on COVID-19 contributions, largely as voluntary initiatives. About $5 million of this was a part of contractual obligations