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Vaccine pledge to help protect UK from future coronavirus waves

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Yesterday the International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan made a statement to MPs announcing the UK’s funding pledge to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, equivalent to £330 million a year for the next five years. This UK aid support will help vaccinate up to 75 million children in the world’s poorest countries against deadly infectious diseases.

The International Development Secretary said that by vaccinating millions of children and strengthening health systems we are supporting developing countries to cope with rising coronavirus cases, which will in turn protect the UK and our NHS from future waves of infection.

She also looked forward to Global Vaccine Summit on 4 June which the UK will host, with the Prime Minister leading other countries to raise the funds Gavi needs to vaccinate a further 300 million children and save up to 8 million lives.

The announcement has been covered positively in a range of news outlets.

In The Daily Telegraph it was reported that the UK’s new funding would support immunisation programmes in 68 of the world’s poorest countries, while also protecting Britain “from future waves of coronavirus”.

The Daily Telegraph article quotes the International Development Secretary who said “the coronavirus pandemic shows the vital role vaccines play in protecting us against disease”.

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, told The Daily Telegraph the UK is “being generous and thinking global, which also happens to be the best way to fight disease”.

The announcement was covered positively by the Daily Express, Metro, City A.M. and development news site Devex. The UK’s commitment was also featured on the live coronavirus news blogs of BBC News, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express, and regional media outlets including The Liverpool Echo and Devon Live.

The announcement has been widely welcomed on social media including posts from the Gates Foundation and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, one of the the new global vaccine envoys for the World Health Organization, who said the UK’s support will “ensure Gavi’s core immunization programs are implemented, and will support developing countries response to #COVID19”.

Also yesterday the Daily Telegraph published an op-ed from DFID Minister Baroness Sugg explaining how women and girls’ rights are at risk of being rolled back by the coronavirus crisis, and how UK aid is prioritising their needs in our humanitarian response.

On Monday 4 May the UK will co-host the Global Coronavirus Response Initiative alongside other nations like Norway, France and Germany to call for a broad coalition of international organisations, businesses and governments to work together to develop an affordable vaccine, which will be accessible to everyone who needs it, as quickly as possible.

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