MANAGING DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF THE COVAX FACILITY
In October 2020, Aurélia Nguyen was appointed Managing Director of the Office of the COVAX Facility. In this role, Aurélia is leading the coordination of procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines for 190 participating economies through COVAX, the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers worldwide to ensure fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for economies of all financial means.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a groundbreaking global collaboration bringing together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, donors and global health organisations to speed up an end to the pandemic.
Until her appointment as Managing Director of the Office of the COVAX Facility, Aurélia served as Gavi’s Managing Director for Vaccines & Sustainability, leading the end-to-end work of designing Gavi’s vaccine programmes. She and her team were responsible for designing ways for Gavi’s resources to support financially sustainable vaccine programmes and markets, and ultimately increase uptake of life-saving vaccines.
Prior to joining Gavi, Aurélia held a variety of posts between 1999 and 2010 within GlaxoSmithKline, where latterly she led the development of GSK’s policies on access to medicines and vaccines in the developing world. She has also undertaken research for the World Health Organization (WHO) on generic medicines policies.
Aurélia is a certified accountant and holds a Master’s degree in Health Policy, Planning & Financing from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics. Aurélia was named by TIME magazine to the 2021 TIME100 Next list honouring “the 100 individuals who are shaping the future of their fields and defining the next generation of leadership”.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the health of the world lies in the hands of Aurélia Nguyen. It’s Nguyen’s job, as managing director of the COVAX Facility, to ensure that the lifesaving and pandemic-ending vaccines developed against COVID-19 reach as many people around the world as possible. Public-health officials say that in today’s connected world, an outbreak anywhere is an outbreak everywhere. So only by vaccinating nearly everyone on the planet can we erect a human wall of immunity that’s harder for the virus to penetrate.
Nguyen oversees $6 billion in pledges from 98 wealthier countries to support COVAX, a joint endeavor of the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Since November 2020, she’s led the facility’s mission to secure and distribute vaccines without charge to nearly 92 lower-resource nations that because of their smaller health care budgets would otherwise be shut out of orders for the shots. COVAX is competing with wealthier nations that are securing doses for themselves, and Nguyen admits that it’s “not going to be all smooth sailing.” But in 2021, she anticipates COVAX will distribute 2 billion doses to countries including India, Brazil and Nigeria. —Alice Park