An effective and fairly distributed COVID-19 vaccine will be key to turning the course of the pandemic, in addition to infection prevention and control measures. The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) is a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production of and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. ACT-A has three pillars: vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. It acts as a connector of health systems. The vaccine pillar, i.e. the COVAX facility, aims to ensure the global distri-bution of vaccines by acting as a platform that will support the research, development and manufacturing of a wide range of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, and negotiate their pricing. All participating countries, regardless of income levels, will have equal access to these vaccines once they are developed. The initial aim is to have 2 billion doses available by the end of 2021, which should be enough to protect high-risk and vulnerable people, as well as frontline health-care workers. Inter-Agency Standing Committee mem-bers are working closely with the COVAX facility to ensure that a ‘humanitarian buffer’ of the eventual vaccine is available for at-risk populations.