Health and Healthcare Systems

This is how the World Economic Forum is supporting COVID-19 vaccination

Vials of AstraZeneca's COVISHIELD, coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are seen before they are packaged inside a lab at Serum Institute of India, in Pune, India, November 30, 2020. Picture taken November 30, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas - RC28EK9WOG7J

AstraZeneca's COVISHIELD vaccine is in the COVAX research and development portfolio. Image: REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Kate Whiting
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
Martina Szabo
Head of Knowledge Communities; Interim Head, Education, Skills and Learning, World Economic Forum
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  • Manufacturing and distributing COVID-19 vaccines equitably presents a huge logistical challenge.
  • The World Economic Forum's COVID Action Platform brings together global leaders to solve issues from supply chains to increasing confidence in vaccines.
  • We're also supporting the work of COVAX and the ACT-Accelerator to ensure vaccines reach those who need them most.

On 31 December, 2019, the World Health Organization picked up reports of cases of 'viral pneumonia' in Wuhan, China.

A year later, the disease we now know as COVID-19 has claimed almost 1.5 million lives and there have been more than 63 million confirmed cases around the globe.

But thanks to incredible collective efforts, funding and technology, progress on more than 200 vaccines is being monitored by the WHO. Three have already shown positive results in trials – and could be rolled out in some countries before the end of the year.

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Manufacturing and distributing a vaccine worldwide brings multiple challenges and the urgent need for collective action and coordination.

This multi-stakeholder cooperation is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform. The platform's cross-cutting efforts address different challenges associated with developing and deploying COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

Here is some of the work we're doing...

Support for key global health collaborations

For more than 50 years, the Forum has brought together leaders from government, business and civil society to help solve the world’s greatest health issues.

In 2000, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, was launched at the Annual Meeting in Davos, with an initial pledge of $750 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria launched at the Annual Meeting two years later.

Gavi's impact draws on the strength of its core partners
How Gavi works in collaboration with other global partners. Image: Gavi

Following lessons learned during the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, in 2017, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched to accelerate the development of vaccines and to enable access to these vaccines during outbreaks.

In March 2020, the Forum launched the COVID Action Platform, engaging more than 1,200 organizations in over 40 projects and initiatives ranging from securing global supply chains and tackling mobility challenges during lockdown to increasing confidence in vaccines.

The Forum has also endorsed Stakeholder Principles in the COVID Era – to help all those affected – and outlined Workforce Principles for Human Resources Officers, to guide organizations in balancing short-term pressures against medium- to longer-term needs in a responsible way.

The ACT-Accelerator

Social media cards - ACT (Access to COVID-19 Tools accelerator)
How the ACT-Accelerator is working to deliver vaccines to all. Image: WHO

The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) is the global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It is the only instrument of its kind with principles of universal access and equity at its core.

The Forum supports the ACT-Accelerator as one of only four non-state members of the Facilitation Council (governing body) together with governments and global partners.


Under the Vaccines pillar of the ACT-Accelerator, known as COVAX, the Forum supports GAVI and CEPI, building on our two decades of partnership.

We supported 2020 pledge events to raise financing for COVAX and directly input into several workstreams focused on indemnification and compensation, and global manufacturing. The aim is to establish a global network to create additional manufacturing capacity.


The AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate is in the COVAX research and development portfolio, overseen by CEPI. Hundreds of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate have been secured on behalf of the COVAX Facility.

Amplifying trusted information

The Forum offers its global platform to leaders from WHO, GAVI, CEPI, and others to galvanize awareness and support for key collaborations like ACT-A and COVAX.

Our partners have also chosen the Forum as a platform to communicate updates on vaccine development and deployment, including during the Sustainable Development Impact Summit and the upcoming Davos Agenda week.

Building confidence in vaccinations

Platform for Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare

Despite the progress, vaccines won't work if people won't take them. Building and sustaining vaccine confidence has never been more important.

The Forum is working with partners to increase confidence and literacy in vaccination and other health information surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re building a network of employers and community-based organizations dedicated to sharing evidence-based information around vaccinations.


What is the World Economic Forum doing about access to vaccines?

Addressing vaccine deployment challenges

Platform for Shaping the Future of Trade and Global Economic Interdependence

People can't be vaccinated if we can't get the vaccines to them. But we're helping to overcome the hurdles to distribution, as part of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF).

It brings together governments and businesses to address delays and red tape at borders and is working with the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) to identify the obstacles to distributing COVID-19 vaccines and related medical equipment in ASEAN countries.

Industry Action Group for Supply Chain and Transport

Platform for Shaping the Future of Mobility

The Industry Action Group brings together a community of chief executives and senior deputies. The Supply Chain and Transport group is working to address the disruption caused by the pandemic and ways industry can partner to rebuild and reform supply systems.

Cold-chain compliant logistics solutions will be central to distributing COVID-19 vaccines and aiding global socio-economic recovery.

Along with partners such as UNICEF and IATA, the IAG is working to identify collaborative, pre-competitive action across the transport and logistics sector that will ensure safe, equitable vaccine distribution, particularly for low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in the global south with a focus on a 2-8°C cold chain.


Platform for Shaping the Future of Mobility

In collaboration with the Commons Project, the Forum is supporting CommonPass, which aims to develop and launch a standard global model to enable people to securely document and present their COVID-19 status (either as test results or an eventual vaccination status). This will help to facilitate international travel and border crossing while keeping health information private.

Recognizing that countries will make sovereign decisions on border entry and health screening requirements, including whether or not to require tests or what type of test to require, CommonPass serves as a neutral platform which creates the interoperability needed for the various 'travel bubbles' to connect and for countries to trust one another's data by leveraging global standards.

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