UK leads way as nations endorse landmark pledge to make coronavirus vaccines available to all

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Countries from around the world have joined the UK in pledging to give everyone equal access to new coronavirus vaccines and treatments around the world.

The move is aimed at boosting global supply of the vaccine, once one is approved for use, to help prevent a second wave of the pandemic.

At the World Health Organization virtual launch event, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab joined the UN Secretary General, World Health Organization (WHO) Director General and the leaders from the 20 countries, including France, South Africa and Malaysia to pledge the UK’s support for the new “COV-access agreement”.

This is an unprecedented global agreement between international health organisations and countries. It follows calls from the UK for the countries to work together, including at last month’s G20 meeting.

The UK is one of the biggest supporters of the global effort to find a coronavirus vaccine, providing £250m to international research on the disease to the Centre for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. It is also one of the biggest supporters of the WHO and Gavi, the Global Vaccine Alliance, which distributes vaccines in the poorest countries.

UK scientists at Oxford and Imperial College London Universities are also leading efforts to develop a working vaccine. Human trials started this week in Oxford, and the government has given £42.5m in funding to support clinical trials at both institutions.

The UK confirmed today that it will co-host a Coronavirus Global Response Summit on 4 May, aiming to raise £7bn to develop vaccines, treatments and tests to help end the coronavirus pandemic.

It was also announced that the UK will host the major the Global Vaccines Summit virtually on the 4th June, to ensure Gavi is fully funded and at the heart of our efforts to ensure equitable access for any vaccine.

Speaking to other leaders in a video message alongside the UN Secretary General and WHO Director General this afternoon First Secretary of State Dominic Raab said: “The UK is already one of the biggest donors to the international COVID-19 response, and today we are proud to support the WHO’s Call to Action to bring global health partners together to accelerate progress toward a vaccine.”

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