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International Vaccines Procurement Initiative (COVAX): UK Participation

Volume 682: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2020

I am confirming that the United Kingdom has joined the global COVAX initiative to expedite the discovery, manufacture, and fair distribution of an effective coronavirus vaccine to 1 billion people globally.

The UK is a strong supporter and champion of COVAX and its mission to deliver fair and equitable access to covid-19 vaccines around the world. We are pleased that over 170 countries and territories have announced their intention to join COVAX. Through this initiative, countries are pooling resources to support “at risk” investment in manufacturing and secure advance purchase agreements with manufacturers for the supply of their vaccines. COVAX will procure vaccines for both high-income and lower-income countries and will distribute vaccines equitably.

The COVAX facility is being run by the vaccines alliance (Gavi), with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). It has two parts:

a self-financing facility to allow upper-middle and high-income countries to pool investments in candidates in exchange for early access to vaccines; and

the advance market commitment (AMC) fund, to support 92 low and lower-middle income countries to buy vaccines.

We have contributed £71 million to the self-financing facility. This will give us an option to buy vaccines available through COVAX for up to 20% of the UK population (13.5 million people). Any vaccines secured through COVAX will be complementary to those the UK has already secured through its agreements with vaccine developers.

The Prime Minister announced at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that the UK will allocate £500 million of ODA funding for the procurement and delivery of covid-19 vaccines in low and lower middle-income countries. This is in addition to the £48 million we allocated to the AMC at the global vaccine summit in June 2020.

This new funding includes a commitment to match £1 for every $4 committed by others, up to £250 million, encouraging other countries to fund the global effort to fairly distribute vaccines across the globe and leverage an additional $1 billion for the AMC. Canada, Germany, Sweden and Japan have all made commitments of over $422 million. This means we have, so far, matched almost £106 million of this funding.

In addition, the UK has worked with the World Bank to develop an ambitious $12 billion proposal for vaccine financing, which was also announced at UNGA. The World Bank will make up to $6 billion of its financing available to middle-income countries and $6 billion to low and lower middle-income countries, to help them secure access to covid-19 vaccines.