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The U.S. & Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Key Facts

  • Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) is an independent public-private partnership and multilateral funding mechanism that aims to “save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries.”1
  • Since its launch in 2000 through 2016, Gavi has provided over $10 billion in support of immunization efforts in 76 low- and middle-income countries.
  • The U.S. government (U.S.) has supported Gavi since its creation through direct financial contributions, participation in Gavi’s governance, and technical assistance.
  • The U.S. is one of Gavi’s top government donors. U.S. contributions through 2016 comprised 12% of all donations received by Gavi ($1.6 billion out of $13.9 billion).
  • U.S. contributions to Gavi have grown almost every year since 2001, reaching a high of $235 million in 2016.

Gavi Overview

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) is an independent public-private partnership and multilateral funding mechanism that aims to “save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries.”2 Created in 1999, Gavi was formally launched in January 2000.


Gavi’s current five-year strategy, for the 2016-2020 period, includes four core goals:

  1. accelerate equitable uptake and coverage of vaccines;
  2. increase effectiveness and efficiency of immunization delivery as an integrated part of strengthened health systems;
  3. improve sustainability of national immunization programs; and
  4. shape markets for vaccines and other immunization products.3


Secretariat and Partners

Gavi’s Secretariat, with its main headquarters in Geneva, and an office in Washington, D.C., carries out the day-to-day operations of the partnership. A team of Country Responsible Officers, based in the Geneva offices, oversees agreements with countries and works with country governments to implement programs. Gavi is led by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), currently Seth Berkley.4 The partnership does not have program offices or staff based in recipient countries.

Gavi’s partners include donors, such as the U.S. government (discussed further below); developing country governments; multilateral organizations, such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank; and civil society groups.

Table 1: Members of the Gavi Board
Constituency # of Seats
Institutional (UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, Gates Foundation) 4
Industrialized Country Governments 5
Developing Country Governments 5
Research & Technical Health Institutes 1
Industrialized Country Vaccine Industry 1
Developing Country Vaccine Industry 1
Civil Society Organizations 1
Unaffiliated* 9
CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (non-voting) 1
NOTES: * The unaffiliated seat is for independent private individuals with expertise in critical areas, such as investment, auditing, and fundraising.

The 28-member Gavi Board, with representation from a broad set of public and private stakeholders (see Table 1), sets Gavi’s funding policies and strategic direction.5 A subset of Board members also comprise the Executive Committee, which can meet to decide on time-sensitive matters between Board sessions.6 Additionally, several Board committees, such as the Audit and Finance Committee and the Programme and Policy Committee, guide and advise the Board and the CEO on Gavi activities under their purview. The U.S. government is represented on Gavi’s Board and on its Programme and Policy Committee.


Through September 2016, the partnership had received close to $14 billion in financing (see Table 2).7 Three-quarters (74%) of Gavi’s funding comes from direct donations provided by donor governments and private organizations and individuals. The top three government donors are the United Kingdom, the U.S., and Norway, while the largest private donor (and largest donor overall) is the Gates Foundation. The remainder (26%) of Gavi’s funding is provided through two unique innovative financing mechanisms – the International Finance Facility-Immunisation (IFFIm) and the Advance Market Commitment (AMC). The U.S. does not support these mechanisms, due to restrictions on making commitments to multi-year appropriations.8

International Finance Facility-Immunisation. Created in 2006, IFFIm uses donor funding commitments to back the issuance of special bonds in capital markets, essentially providing “up-front” financing to Gavi. Donor support for IFFIm comes from country governments, with the largest donors being the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Australia, Norway, and Spain.9

Advance Market Commitment. The AMC, which began operating in 2010, supports accelerated access to pneumococcal vaccines. Donors provide up-front funding commitments to support vaccine purchases, which helps speed the introduction and use of the vaccines in Gavi-supported countries.10 Six donors support the AMC; in order of commitment amount, they are: Canada, Italy, Norway, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the Gates Foundation.11

Table 2:  Contributions to Gavi, 2000-201612
Funding Source Contributions
in U.S. $ millions
% of Total
TOTAL $13,859.0 100.0%
Donor Government Contributions 7,245.0 52.3
   United Kingdom 1,927.2 13.9
   United States 1,614.5 11.7
   Norway 1,277.4 9.2
   Sweden 413.8 3.0
   Netherlands 402.9 2.9
   Canada 348.4 2.5
   Australia 308.4 2.5
   Others                      612.9 4.4
Private Contributions 2,961.5 21.4
   Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 2,779.4 20.1
   Others 182.1 1.3
Innovative Financing Mechanisms 3,552.5 26.4
   International Finance Facility-Immunisation (IFFIm) 2,575.7 18.6
   Advance Market Commitment (AMC) 1076.8 7.8
NOTES: Reflects total cash received (proceeds), through 31 December 2016.

Country Eligibility and Support


Only low- and middle-income countries with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita below or equal to $1,580, that meet benchmarks for commitment to vaccine delivery and, depending on the vaccine, burden of disease are eligible for Gavi support.13 54 countries were eligible for Gavi support in 2016. These include all 25 U.S. priority countries for maternal and child health assistance.14

Recipient governments are expected to share responsibility for funding their national immunization efforts through “co-financing” requirements, determined according to country income level. As countries develop economically, they are expected to contribute a greater share of the funding required for immunization programs.15 Eventually, when countries’ incomes rise above the GNI per capita threshold ($1,580), they are considered to have “graduated” from Gavi eligibility. Each year, a certain number of countries may graduate; for example, in 2016, five countries (Bhutan, Honduras, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine) graduated. Sixteen more countries, including Bolivia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, are expected to graduate in the next several years.16

Country Support

Eligible countries may apply for funding provided through one of Gavi’s several “funding windows” (types of support), which include support provided in the form of new and underused vaccines assistance (i.e., helping countries to introduce and expand the use of new and underused vaccines in their national immunization programs) as well as support for complementary activities, such as developing vaccine delivery systems, health systems strengthening, and supporting the development of civil society. Gavi also provided support to countries in the wake of the 2014-2015 West Africa Ebola epidemic, to help them recover and rebuild national immunization programs.

Overall, from 2000 through November 2016, Gavi has disbursed over $10 billion in support to 76 low- and middle-income countries through more than ten funding windows (see Table 3).17 Most Gavi support (73%) has been provided through the new and underused vaccines funding window, followed by health systems strengthening (10%).

Table 3: Gavi Country Support, by Type, 2000-201618
Type of Support (“Funding Window”) Funding
in U.S. $ millions
# of Countries
Receiving Support
New and underused vaccines* 7,716.3 75
Health systems strengthening 1,015.6 56
Operational costs for immunization campaigns 410.4 63
Immunization services support 346.2 63
Vaccine introduction grants 151.2 72
Injection safety support 113.4 75
Civil society organizations 30.6 10
Ebola recovery plan 13.2 3
Graduation grants 6.3 15
HPV demonstration cash support 4.7 26
Product switch grants 0.4 4
TOTAL $10,579.2 76
NOTES: Reflects Gavi-reported disbursements from 2000 through November 2016. * New and underused vaccines include: Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), humanpapilloma virus (HPV), pentavalent, tetravalent, yellow fever, pneumococcal, rotavirus, meningitis A, Japanese encephalitis, inactivated polio virus (IPV), and measles.


According to Gavi, its support has led to improved child health and immunization indicators in countries that have received it. For example, Gavi reports that in supported countries between 2010 and 2015, child mortality declined by an average of 3.6% per year, 277 million more children were immunized, and over 4 million children’s lives were saved due to Gavi support.19 WHO has also estimated that over Gavi’s first decade, its funding helped reverse previously stagnating or declining coverage rates of childhood vaccinations in low-income countries, increasing average vaccine coverage from 66% to 79% during this period (2000-2010).20

U.S. Engagement with Gavi

The U.S. government has supported Gavi since its creation. President Clinton made the initial U.S. pledge to the newly formed partnership in 2000, and the U.S. provided its first contribution in 2001.21 Currently, the U.S. supports Gavi through financial contributions, participation in Gavi’s governance, and providing technical assistance. It also supports other global immunization activities that, while separate, support the work of Gavi.

Financial Support

U.S. financial support to Gavi has grown over time and includes direct contributions to Gavi but, thus far, has not included support for Gavi’s innovative financing mechanisms.22 The U.S. has contributed to Gavi every year since 2001, with U.S. contributions increasing from $48 million in 2001 to $235 million in 2016 (Figure 1).23

Congress provides funding for U.S. contributions to Gavi through the Global Health and Child Survival account at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), specifically within the maternal and child health budget line.24

Multi-Year Pledges

The U.S. government has made two multi-year pledges of support to Gavi. The first pledge was made in June 2011 for $450 million over three years, a pledge which was met through U.S. contributions in 2012 through 2014. The second pledge was made in January 2015 for $1 billion over four years; so far, Congress has provided $435 million toward this pledge (2015- 2016), with $565 million remaining, or an average of $282.5 million for both 2017 and 2018. Meeting this commitment is subject to annual congressional appropriations.

Figure 1: U.S. Contributions to Gavi, 2001-2016

Governance Activities

A U.S. government representative (from USAID) currently occupies the rotating seat on the Gavi Board that represents the industrialized country governments constituency’s U.S./Australia/Republic of Korea/Japan group through June 2017. The U.S. government also provides another representative (also from USAID) to the Gavi Board’s Programme and Policy Committee, which advises the Executive Committee and the Board on all policy and programmatic proposals.

Technical Support

The U.S. also provides Gavi with technical support and expertise in the design, implementation, and evaluation of its programs in the field through partnerships with several U.S. agencies. For example, Gavi’s accelerated introduction programs for the pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines have been conducted with technical support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USAID, along with other partners.

Other U.S. Immunization Activities

Support of Gavi is one component of a broader set of global immunization activities of the U.S. government. In addition to multilateral funding for the U.S. contribution to Gavi, the U.S. provides bilateral (country-to-country) support for immunization through USAID, CDC, and other agencies.25 The two types of assistance – multilateral and bilateral – are intended to be complementary, with funding for Gavi supporting the introduction of new and underused vaccines into routine immunization systems globally, and bilateral aid supporting countries’ immunization system improvements in order to help them deliver Gavi-financed and other vaccines.26 Indeed, many of the countries in which the U.S. carries out its global health programs, including bilateral global immunization activities that are part of U.S. global MCH efforts, also receive support from Gavi.27 See the KFF fact sheets on U.S. global MCH efforts and U.S. global polio efforts.

Key Issues for the U.S.

The U.S. government has consistently supported Gavi since its inception in 2000 as a means of supporting global immunization programs and improving child health in developing countries. Key policy issues for U.S. engagement with Gavi going forward include:

  • future U.S. contributions to Gavi in the context of the new presidential administration, the existing U.S. pledge of $1 billion from 2015-2018, fiscal constraints in the federal budget, and potential cuts to U.S. foreign assistance.
  • potential future growth in Gavi’s funding requirements as immunization coverage is further expanded and, potentially, more vaccines are introduced into the Gavi portfolio;28
  • ensuring U.S. immunization investments, both multilateral (through Gavi) and bilateral, are leveraged effectively to contribute to the achievement of global immunization goals.
  1. Gavi Website, “Gavi’s Mission”.

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  2. Gavi Website, “Gavi’s Mission”.

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  3. Gavi Website. “Phase IV (2016-2020)”.

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  4. Gavi Website. “Seth Berkley”.

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  5. Gavi Website. “Governing Gavi.”

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  6. Gavi Website. “Executive committee”.

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  7. Gavi Website. “Key figures: donor contributions and pledges”.

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  8. For further information about restrictions on U.S. support for these innovative financing mechanisms, see: KFF. Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Global Health: Overview and Considerations for U.S. Government Participation. September 2011

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  9. International Finance Facility for Immunisation Website.  “Donors”.

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  10. Gavi Website. “Pneumococcal AMC”.

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  11. Gavi Website. “How the pneumococcal AMC works”.

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  12. Gavi Website. “Cash received, proceeds as of 31 December 2016”.

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  13. Gavi Website. “Countries eligible for support”.

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  14. USAID. “Maternal and Child Health Priority Countries.”

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  15. Gavi Website. “Graduation policy”.

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  16. Gavi Website. “Transition process”.

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  17. Gavi Website. “Gavi Donor Contributions and Pledges”.

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  18. Gavi Website. “Disbursements by Country”.

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  19. Gavi Progress Report 2015.

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  20. Gavi Strategy and Business Plan 2011-2015.

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  21. Congressional Research Service. Health in Developing Countries: The U.S. Response. RL30793, Feb 2001.

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  22. Gavi Website, “Facts and Figures”,

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  23. U.S. contribution amounts as reported by Gavi.

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  24. KFF. The U.S. Global Health Budget: Analysis of Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2015.

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  25.  “U.S. Investments in Global Immunization.”

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  26. Trostle M, Shen AK. Three decades of USAID investments in immunization through the child survival revolution. Emerging Microbes and Infections 3, e13; doi:10.1038/emi.2014.13; published online 26 February 2014.

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  27. KFF analysis of Gavi recipient countries and USAID maternal and child health priority countries.

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  28. For example, Gavi could help countries introduce a new malaria vaccine (see:, updated vaccine formulations and/or new combination vaccines as they are developed and approved.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.