Equitable and Sustainable Financing of Covid-19 Vaccination of Developing Countries

I. Introduction

The vaccination, including the vaccine, logistics, and healthcare administration, may cost an average of US$75 per person. The government tax to gross domestic products (GDP) per capita is 10-15% as the economy is 70-90% informal sector (not filing and paying the government tax). Before Covid-19, the GDPs per capita of most developing countries were US$500-US$1,000. With Covid-19, the GDP may be mostly below US$500 per capita. The tax to GDP (regular government budget source) is then US$50-75. Meaning the government of the developing countries should need to use almost 100% of the budget to finance Covid-19 vaccination. How to ensure vaccine availability and avoid financial barriers to Covid-19 vaccination?

II. Financing options

1. Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) led by GAVI, WHO, UNICEF and CEPI

It is a great initiative but currently mobilizes less than 10% of the budget. The sources of financing are governments essentially, foundations and companies. With the global economic health crisis, it may be impossible to have the Covax mechanism cover more than 50% of the three-year needs. Which options to increase and sustain the financial capacity of the Covax mechanism? A small percentage added to the international flight tickets may provide sustainable contributions.  Covax should engage as possible the international travel organizations like International Air Transport Association (IATA) and similar and regulators.

The countries should use the purchasing power of the Covax mechanism to acquire cost-effective vaccines. It requires Covax to establish grants and paid vaccines for developing countries.

 2. National Covid-19 Vaccination Financing by Developing Countries

The fiscal space to accommodate the cost of the vaccines and related services doesn't almost exist. A small percentage of the telecommunication fee (used by more than 80% of the population, with easy payment collection) should contribute to financing the vaccination in a realistic, sustainable, and socially acceptable manner).

The persons with more than US$15,000 income a year (5-25%) may contribute using voluntarily paid vaccination facilities. It can be an opportunity of having cross-social economic categories indirect solidarity. It may help the businesspersons benefit with less waiting time, and some comforts already are paying for other services (accommodation, leisure, etc.).

III. Conclusion

The universal Covid-19 vaccination may be reached if both the Covax and developing countries' governments design sustainable financing mechanisms beyond the current funding grant-based. As GAVI slogan: "No one is safe until everyone is safe."  

Dr. Claude Sekabaraga, MD, MPH

Quality & Equity Healthcare