COVAX welcomes appointment of civil society representatives

CSO Reps

Geneva, 30 October 2020 — As part of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, COVAX — the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO) — welcomes the appointment of civil society organisation (CSO) representatives to key COVAX working groups.

The representatives were selected by a civil society selection committee made up of members from 10 civil society organizations from 7 countries and 4 continents. The ten nominees were selected from a pool of 159 candidates based on a range of criteria: technical expertise, CSO experience and connectedness, knowledge of immunization and engagement of CSOs in the immunization space, and the detailed technical criteria outlined in the call for applications for each workstream. Gender and geographical diversity were also taken into consideration. In addition, all candidates were thoroughly assessed by the COVAX workstream leads and leadership.

The selected representatives will be involved in a number of key groups working contributing to the only global solution for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for the most vulnerable groups around the world. The ten civil society and community representatives will provide valuable technical expertise and use their experiences to play an important role in the success of COVAX.

This statement is also available on the Gavi website.

Notes to Editors

The list of appointed civil society representatives is as follows:

Working Group: COVAX Coordination Meeting

Name: Messin Teklu Tessema

Organisation: IRC

Gender: M

Nationality/Region: AFRO/USA

Working Group: Access/Allocation

Name: Karrar Karrar

Organisation: Save the Children

Gender: M

Nationality/Region: Sudanese + UK

Working Group: Vaccine Strategy

Name: Jane Barratt

Organisation: International Federation on Aging

Gender: F

Nationality/Region: Sudanese + UK

Country Readiness & Delivery: CRD Coordination

Name: Kathleen Clark

Organisation:American Red Cross

Gender: F

Nationality/Region: Europe

Country Readiness & Delivery: CRD - Communication, Advocacy, Training

Name: Carla Toko

Organisation: Village Reach

Gender: F

Nationality/Region: AFRO/DRC

Country Readiness & Delivery: CRD - Demand

Name: Robert Kanwagi

Organisation: World Vision

Gender: M

Nationality/Region: AFRO

TRG/SWAT: Manufacturing SWAT

Name: Alain Alsalhani

Organisation: MSF

Gender: M

Nationality/Region: EURO (Syrian origin)

TRG/SWAT: Enabling Science SWAT

Name: Sheetal Sharma

Organisation: Safari Doctors

Gender: F

Nationality/Region: AFRO/Kenya

TRG/SWAT: Clinical Development and Operations SWAT

Name: Farah Kumar

Organisation: Aga Khan Foundation

Gender: F

Nationality/Region: Asia/Pakistan

TRG/SWAT: Technical Review Group

Name: Rebecca Grais

Organisation: MSF

Gender: F

Nationality/Region: Europe/USA


COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO) — working in partnership with developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, UNICEF, the World Bank, Civil Society Organisations and others. COVAX is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to economies of all financial means.

More information on COVAX is available here.

A full list of self-financing participants that have submitted commitment agreements to join the COVAX Facility, as well as the 92 COVAX AMC-eligible economies, is available here.

About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world's children against some of the world's deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation — over 822 million children — and prevented more than 14 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation and reaching the unvaccinated children still being left behind, employing innovative finance and the latest technology — from drones to biometrics — to save millions more lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organizations that fund Gavi's work here.


About CEPI

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics. CEPI has moved with great urgency and in coordination with WHO in response to the emergence of COVID-19. CEPI has initiated nine partnerships to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus. The programmes are leveraging rapid response platforms already supported by CEPI as well as new partnerships.

Before the emergence of COVID-19, CEPI's priority diseases included Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever and Chikungunya virus. CEPI also invested in platform technologies that can be used for rapid vaccine and immunoprophylactic development against unknown pathogens (Disease X).


About WHO

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 150 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.

For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit and follow WHO on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube


Media Contacts

Evan O'Connell, Media Consultant, Gavi
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+41 22 909 6528
[email protected]

Meghana Sharafudeen, Media Manager, Gavi
+41 79 711 5554
[email protected]