Citi, Covid and Covax: Vaccine finance a year on
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Citi, Covid and Covax: Vaccine finance a year on

A year on from being named financial adviser to Covax, a global alliance set up to deliver two billion pandemic vaccine doses to low-income countries, Citi bankers tell Euromoney about lessons learned, what has been achieved – and if Covax is a success or not.

First shipment of U.S. donated COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Addis Ababa
Photo: Reuters

On November 2, 2020, vaccines alliance Gavi, a public-private health partnership based in Geneva, named Citi as financial adviser to the Covax Facility.

Launched that April, Covax, a collaboration of global governments, multilaterals and pharmaceutical firms, had a specific remit: to deliver 2 billion doses of pandemic vaccines to Covid-hit lower-income countries by the end of 2021.

With that deadline fast approaching, it’s a good time to ask a few salient questions. Notably: how successful has Covax been; what lessons were learned; and what role has Citi played in the financial strategy and keeping the project on track?

The plan

When Covax was launched, the world was reeling from the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Vaccines seemed a long way off, but global authorities knew that they would arrive. And when that happened, the world would need an equitable system that ensured a reliable and steady flow of doses to poorer countries.

The facility’s main source of strength was its bargaining power. With backing from Unicef, the World Health Organization and 94 higher-income countries, it aimed to cast its net wide: to secure as many shots of as many approved vaccines as possible, then deliver them fast.

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