On Tuesday, local MP and ex-Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Minister Andrew Murrison asked the Government about their plans for supporting vaccine roll out across the developing world.
Dr Murrison firstly noted the early success of the UK’s programme – commenting as the country registered over 4 million first doses administered, and as England expands the offering to over 70s.
Noting that the UK, like the US and Canada, has ordered much more vaccine than it will ultimately need for its population, Dr Murrison asked about access to vaccine for global poor, citing the international effort being coordinated by COVAX:
“Will the Minister say at what point we will pass vaccines that we have ordered that greatly surpass the need of our population to COVAX? Does he agree that it is vital that, in advance of that, we do everything in our power to develop healthcare infrastructure in developing countries, without which a credible vaccine roll-out is just not possible?”
FCDO Minster Nigel Adams responded:
“I have had meetings with my Philippine counterparts on vaccines, alongside AstraZeneca. We are supporting equitable access through our funding for the COVAX facility. We are one of the largest donors to the COVAX advance market commitment to support access for 92 developing countries; we have committed £548 million. COVAX’s partners, which include Gavi, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, have huge experience in supporting developing country immunisation systems and the programming of immunisation. We expect the initial roll-out to COVAX AMC countries to start in the first quarter of this year.”