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Governments pledge $8.8 billion for global vaccines alliance

The online meeting beat a target to raise $7.4 billion to provide vaccines at a much reduced cost to 300 million children worldwide over the next five years.

AFP|
Last Updated: Jun 05, 2020, 11.45 PM IST
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AFP
British PM Boris Johnson
British PM Boris Johnson in an address.
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LONDON: Governments around the world on Thursday pledged $8.8 billion for global vaccines alliance Gavi to help immunisation programmes disrupted by coronavirus, prompting calls for global cooperation to ensure a potential Covid-19 vaccine is available to all.

The online meeting beat a target to raise $7.4 billion to provide vaccines at a much reduced cost to 300 million children worldwide over the next five years.

More than 50 countries took part as well as individuals such as billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, whose foundation pledged $1.6 billion.

Gavi also launched a new initiative to purchase potential Covid-19 vaccines, scale-up production and support delivery to developing nations, which raised $567 million in seed money.

“Together, we rise to fulfil the greatest shared endeavour of our lifetimes — the triumph of humanity over disease,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who hosted the summit.

Scientists around the world are racing to develop and test a coronavirus vaccine and United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres said it must be available to everyone.

“A vaccine must be seen as a global public good — a people’s vaccine, which a growing number of world leaders are calling for,” he said in a video message. There needs to be “global solidarity to ensure that every person, everywhere, has access”.

The US pledged $1.16 billion to Gavi’s fundraising drive. If a vaccine is developed, Microsoft founder Gates said Gavi hoped to be able to buy it for the poorest countries.

He said pharmaceutical companies had been working together to try to secure the required production capacity. “It’s been amazing, the pharmaceutical companies stepping up to say ‘yes, even if our vaccine is not the best, we will make our factories available,’” he told BBC radio.
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