On February 7, 2022, the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee (Chairman Jose Manuel Barroso, former President of the European Commission) announced that the 2022 Sunhak Peace Prize laureates would be Dame Sarah Catherine Gilbert (age 59), Professor of Vaccinology at Jenner Institute, University of Oxford and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance founded in 2000.
Professor Sarah Gilbert was recognized for the key role she played in protecting billions of lives in less developed countries by co-developing the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, which is easier and less expensive to manufacture, store and transport. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance was recognized for its contributions in coordinating the COVAX Facility initiative, which aims to provide fair and equitable access to the Covid-19 vaccine worldwide.
Professor Sarah Gilbert viewed the Covid-19 pandemic as a common threat to humanity and approached vaccines as a global public good. She stood firm that the vaccine she developed was not for profit, which has been delivered to 182 countries around the globe.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is the largest international cooperation mechanism that contributed to improving the overall health of humanity by providing vaccination in developing countries. Immediately after the coronavirus outbreak, it coordinated the COVAX Facility, a global collaboration to support manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines and negotiate their pricing for fair and equitable access. More than one billion doses have been distributed in 144 nations worldwide through this effort.
Furthermore, Gavi has supported the immunization of more than 820 million children, reaching almost half of all children worldwide, preventing over 14 million deaths since its founding in the year 2000. In particular, the number of children immunized with the DPT vaccine in 73 developing countries increased from 59% in 2000 to 81% in 2020, reducing the child mortality rate by 50%.
Chairman Jose Manuel Barroso added, “Paradoxically, the Covid-19 pandemic is giving us an opportunity to drive real change. We do not know when the next pandemic will occur, but the Covid-19 has taught us that solidarity and cooperation based solely on humanity are the solutions to this global crisis.”