Accra, June 11, GNA – The United Kingdom (UK) will donate 100 million surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world within the next year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has announced.
A statement issued by the UK Prime Minister’s Office, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency, said the pledge was ahead of the G7 Summit, which started in Cornwall on Friday.
It said last week, the Prime Minister asked fellow G7 leaders to help vaccinate the entire world by the end of next year.
It noted that at the Summit, world leaders were expected to announce that they would provide at least one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world through dose sharing and financing and set out a plan to expand vaccine manufacturing to achieve that goal.
The statement said the UK would donate five million doses by the end of September, beginning in the coming weeks, primarily for use in the world’s poorest countries.
It said the Prime Minister had also committed to donating a further 95 million doses within the next year, including 25 million more by the end of 2021.
It noted that 80 per cent of the 100m doses would go to COVAX and the remainder would be shared bilaterally with countries in need.
The statement said by sharing five million doses in the coming weeks, the UK would meet an immediate demand for vaccines for the countries worst affected by the virus without delaying completion of their initial domestic vaccination programme.
It said by vaccinating more people around the world not only help bring an end to the global COVID-19 pandemic, they would also reduce the risk to people in the UK.
It said that included significantly reducing the threat posed by vaccine-resistant variants emerging in areas with large-scale outbreaks.
The statement said the UK helped to establish COVAX last year and was its fourth-biggest donor, pledging £548 million to the scheme.
It said COVAX had so far provided 81 million doses to 129 of the world’s poorest countries.
It said 96 per cent of those were the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the development of which was funded by the UK.
It said with the support of the UK Government, Oxford-AstraZeneca were distributing their vaccines on a not for profit basis to the world; adding that thanks to that commitment, half a billion people had received a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine so far.
The Prime Minister said: “Since the start of this pandemic, the UK has led the way in efforts to protect humanity against this deadly disease.
“Over a year ago, we funded the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on the basis it would be distributed at cost to the world.
“This unprecedented model, which puts people squarely above profit, means over half a billion doses have been administered in 160 countries so far.
“As a result of the success of the UK’s vaccine programme we are now in a position to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them. In doing so we will take a massive step towards beating this pandemic for good.
“At the G7 Summit, I hope my fellow leaders will make similar pledges so that, together, we can vaccinate the world by the end of next year and build back better from coronavirus.”
The statement said at the G7, leaders would also discuss how to expand the supply of vaccines internationally, with the Prime Minister asking the group to encourage pharmaceutical companies to adopt the Oxford-AstraZeneca model of providing vaccines of cost for the duration of the pandemic.
It said Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson had already pledged to share 1.3 billion doses on a non-profit basis with developing countries.
The statement said leaders were expected to discuss additional ways to support countries experiencing acute coronavirus emergencies and put in place mechanisms to prevent future pandemics.
It said that followed on from commitments made at the virtual meeting of G7 leaders earlier this year.
It said the cost of donating the UK’s surpluses would be classified as ODA.
It noted that that would be in addition to the £10bn already committed in aid this year.
It said the doses the UK had announced it would donate would be drawn from the UK’s expected excess supply.
The statement said the 100 million figure had been calculated based on the total needed to vaccinate the UK population, factoring in the possibility of future vaccine-resistant strains being detected and potential disruptions to their supply.