UAE Minister Reem Al Hashimy vows national effort to world health at vaccine conference

Global Vaccine Summit aims to raise $7.4bn to expand international vaccination programmes

Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation.

Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation, has addressed the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 saying the country remains committed to a future free from disease and to fighting Covid-19

"I reaffirm my country's commitment to freeing the next generation from disease and creating a healthier, more prosperous world for all through immunisation," Ms Al Hashimy said.

World leaders met online to raise $7.4 billion (Dh27bn) to replenish Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, over the next five years.

Ms Al Hashimy also highlighted the work the UAE has done with Gavi over many years and recent efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are also dedicating significant resources to the global health agenda focusing on ending preventable diseases that affect the world's poorest," she said.

"We have done that through contributing, as well as strengthening the work for front-line workers as they continue to provide life-saving immunisation."

Ms Al Hashimy said the UAE had sent more than 700 tonnes of medical supplies, valued at $130 million, to 60 countries to fight Covid-19.

The world’s attention is keenly focused on the vaccine conference as governments around the globe battle the pandemic.

Gavi faces the challenges of maintaining current levels of immunisation while public health systems are under threat and preparing for the introduction of a future Covid-19 vaccine.

The prospect of a vaccine to protect against the virus has been seen as the only swift exit from the pandemic, which has killed hundreds of thousands and paralysed global economies.

The UK, the largest single donor to the Vaccine Alliance, has worked closely with the UAE in the fight against Covid-19.

Before the conference the British ambassador to the UAE, Patrick Moody, said the Emirates and the UK would continue to stand together advocating a united international response to the virus and ensuring fair access to an inexpensive vaccine for everyone.

“The UK is proud to be Gavi’s leading donor and on April 29 the UK International Development Secretary pledged the equivalent of £330m [Dh1.52bn/US$416.1m] a year over the next five years to protect 75 million children from preventable diseases,” Mr Moody said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting the conference, has called on Gavi partners to fully fund the organisation until 2025.

"I urge you to join us to fortify this life-saving alliance and inaugurate a new era of global health co-operation, which I believe is now the most essential shared endeavour of our lifetimes," Mr Johnson said.

Ms Al Hashimy had a surprise guest at another online pledging conference this week, aimed at raising $2.4bn to support aid operations in Yemen and curb the spread of the coronavirus.

While the minister read the UAE's statement her young son, Hazza, walked over and leant on her shoulder.

The clip was shared by Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, who described the moment as beautiful and spontaneous.