UK helps to raise more than £737m for global vaccine programme

Britain reaches target by offering to match donations towards buying Covid-19 vaccine doses for 92 developing countries

Boxes of vials of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine are seen in a refridgerator at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol on January 9, 2021 one of seven mass vaccination centres which are set to open next week as Britain continues its vaccination programme against Covid-19.  Ashton Gate is one of the seven seven mass vaccination hubs opening around the country from next week. UK health officials and ministers have described the vaccination roll-out as a head-to-head race against the virus and the vaccination programme as the best hope of a return to normality. / AFP / POOL / Andrew Matthews
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Britain said on Sunday it has helped to raise more than £737 million ($1 billion) from global donors towards the drive to help developing countries have access to coronavirus vaccines, by matching donations.

The UK said it also committed £548m to the Covax Advance Market Commitment, after giving £1 for every £2.95 pledged by other donors.

Canada, Japan and Germany are among the countries to make contributions matched by Britain, helping the Covax commitment to raise more than £1.25bn so far.

The fund will allow for a billion Covid-19 vaccine doses to be sent to 92 developing countries this year, said Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

“We’ll only be safe from this virus when we’re all safe, which is why we’re focused on a global solution to a global problem,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

Britain is marking the 75th anniversary of the first meeting of the UN General Assembly in London, by hosting Secretary General Antonio Guterres for an online visit starting Sunday.

Mr Guterres said the world was “at a 1945 moment”, but this time is at war “against a microscopic virus”.

“The pandemic has revealed the deep fragilities in our world,” he said.

Mr Guterres said it was a human tragedy but also an opportunity to increase global co-operation on many issues.

“The past months have shown that huge transformations are possible, when there is political will and consensus on the way forward,” he said.

Mr Guterres will meet Mr Raab and Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, as well as outgoing business secretary Alok Sharma. This week, Mr Sharma this week became full-time president of the UN’s next major climate summit, Cop26, which will take place in November.

Mr Sharma previously had the role part-time alongside his UK government position of secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, which he left on Friday.

Also on Monday, Mr Guterres and global leaders would try to reignite international environmental diplomacy with a biodiversity summit to launch a critical year for efforts to stem the devastating effects of global warming and species loss.

The One Planet Summit, a largely online event hosted by France in partnership with the UN and the World Bank, will include French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.