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Open Society, Major Funders Call on World Leaders to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccinations in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Foundations unite to support an equitable global economic recovery

NEW YORK—In a joint editorial published October 14, the Open Society Foundations joined other major philanthropies in calling on world leaders to provide the doses, financial resources and delivery logistics needed to achieve the World Health Organization’s vaccination goals. These targets include vaccinating 40 percent of the population in low- and middle-income countries by the end of this year, and 70 percent by September 2022.

“Nations in the Global North have the means to stave off economic calamity and social disruption with massive stimulus packages, while hundreds of millions in the Global South have been driven to extreme poverty,” the foundations said, in a message aimed at officials gathered for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund annual meetings.

To spur global economic recovery, the philanthropic leaders urge high-income country governments to reallocate at least $100 billion in recycled special drawing rights for lower- and middle-income countries in 2021 and to commit $100 billion to help replenish the World Bank’s International Development Association fund to support pandemic response and economic recovery in the world’s poorest countries.

The authors announced that they will be forming a coalition to encourage global action, while dedicating additional resources, expertise, networking, and advocacy efforts to bolster the global drive toward vaccine equity and economic recovery.

“Philanthropies around the world have been answering the call of these urgent times, and it’s time for us to do even more,” said Mark Malloch-Brown, president of the Open Society Foundations. “By coming together on common objectives, philanthropies will have impact that is greater than the sum of its parts and pave the way towards a more equitable future. We call on others to join this effort.”

The Open Society Foundations have recently pledged $30.5 million in new funding to broaden access to vaccines and combat COVID-19, bringing its total pandemic response commitments to more than $240 million. These funds will go toward accelerating vaccine access globally, supporting expanding vaccines manufacturing in the Global South, and other initiatives to advance vaccine equity. In addition, funds will support groups working to strengthen democratic movements around the world, combat misinformation, and advance social protections for groups impacted heavily by the pandemic, including women, persons with disabilities, among others.

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