As part of an international coalition of nations, corporations, and institutions, Iceland is contributing ISK 500 million ($3.8 million/€3.36 million) to global efforts to develop a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus. This announcement was made during a virtual conference held by the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, according to a press release on the Icelandic Government’s website.
The coalition, which was founded a month ago, aims to accelerate the development, production, and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. It also intends to support the taking of samples and broadly applicable treatment solutions for all people, regardless of residence and economic status. The World Health Organization is part of the coalition, which has been promised millions (in USD) in support from Norway, and hundreds of millions (in USD) in support from the US, the UK, Canada, and Germany.
Iceland will be dividing its contribution: half will go to the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, and half will go to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI).
The virtual conference was also tele-attended by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Microsoft founder Bill Gates was one of the speakers. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $250 million (ISK 32.8 billion/€220.6 million) to fight COVID-19.
When announcing Iceland’s contribution, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir emphasised the importance of equal access to health care and safe vaccines, irrespective of gender, economic status, or place of residence. “Equal access to health care is one of the most important public health issues and guarantees the most basic human right – the right to life. Vaccines provide all generations the opportunity for a healthy and fulfilling life.”
The Gavi conference aimed to raise $7.4 billion (ISK 972 billion/€6.53 billion) for its efforts, but it did even better, raising $8.8 billion (ISK 1.1 trillion/€7.77 billion).