UK accelerating access to COVID-19 vaccines in the Caribbean

Press release by British High Commission

Ensuring equitable access to vaccines, treatments and tests to all in the Caribbean and Latin America through international and regional collaboration, is the only solution to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK and Mexico Foreign Secretaries, Dominic Raab and Marcelo Ebrard, expressed this view during a joint virtual seminar under the theme: ‘Accelerating access to COVID-19 vaccines in Latin America and the Caribbean’. They were joined by senior policymakers and scientists from across the region.

The event was co-hosted by the UK and Mexico on 5 August; and highlighted the importance of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to ensure global access to vaccines, treatments and tests to face COVID-19. 

Caribbean and Latin American countries were represented by government officials from a variety of ministries and departments as well as representatives of development banks and health alliances, who highlighted the need for collaboration between governments, international institutions and businesses. 

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said:

“In order to end this terrible pandemic and kick-start our global recovery, we must make vaccines, treatments and tests accessible for all, from Britain to Brazil, Ethiopia to Ecuador, Turkey to Trinidad and Tobago, and everywhere in-between. 

This crisis has challenged us like never before. But it has also shown the profound importance of international collaboration. Only by working together can we defeat this virus and build back stronger and better than ever.”

British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Janet Douglas said:

“The wide interest in this seminar at a senior level across the countries of the Eastern Caribbean, is proof of the urgent need for all countries across the hemisphere and across the globe to have equitable access to vaccines.”

The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation. 

Finding a coronavirus vaccine and supporting equitable access to it, including for Latin America and the Caribbean countries, is a priority for the UK Government. The UK is collaborating with the international community to support the rapid development and manufacturing of safe, effective vaccines as well as treatments and tests to ensure widespread global access.

The UK has already committed up to £313 million of UKAID to support research and development for vaccines, treatments and tests to ensure new tools are available to all, including the world’s poorest countries. The UK also co-hosted June’s Global Vaccine Summit, which mobilised US$8.8bn to replenish Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Gavi’s work in the poorest countries is critical to sustaining immunisation coverage and bolstering the resilience of primary health care systems needed to tackle COVID-19. In recent days, a study revealed the promising results of the Oxford University vaccine Phase I/II trials, one of a number of projects supported by the UK Government.

Key Participants in the seminar

  • The virtual seminar consisted of three panels: The End-to-End Offer on Global Vaccine Access, including the participation of GAVI and CEPI, Self-Financing for Vaccine Access (with the IFC of the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank), and Policy and Allocation of Vaccine (with the Pan-American Health Organisation).
  • Multilateral organisations joined the event, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO).

The UK’s response and commitments to the fight against Covid-19

  • The UK is playing a major role in the response to the pandemic by strengthening global collaboration and committing resources for the global access to a potential vaccine.
  • The UK is one of the biggest global donors on COVID-19 to date, pledging a total of £774m of UK aid that is helping to stop the spread of COVID-19, find new vaccines, treatments and tests and save lives around the world.
  • On 4 June, the UK hosted the Global Vaccine Summit, raising US$ 8.8 billion from 32 donor governments and 12 foundations, corporations and organisations. This will immunise a further 300m children by 2025, saving up to 8 million lives and supporting the global fight against COVID-19. 
  • On 4 May, the UK successfully co-hosted the Global Coronavirus Response Initiative, raising $8 billion for research and development on vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

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