According to the Press Association, the UK Government has decided to join the COVAX to help accelerate the development, production and access to coronavirus vaccines.
Overseen by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO), COVAX is the vaccine pillar of the WHO's Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April. The accelerator focuses on ensuring that "in the fight against Covid-19, no one should be left behind”.
Secretary of state for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma said: “The global effort to find a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine is not a competition but is among the most urgent shared endeavours of our lifetime – it benefits us all to be better equipped to fight this virus.
“That’s why I am delighted to confirm that the United Kingdom will join the global Covax initiative to expedite the discovery, manufacture and fair distribution of a vaccine to one billion people.
“Today’s landmark agreement complements the various vaccine deals the UK has already made and ensures we have the best chance of accessing a safe and effective vaccine for people in the UK as soon as one becomes available, as well as supporting access in poorer countries.”
The participation of rich, developed countries is central to COVAX's mission to ensure that lower-income countries who are unable to sign bilateral deals with individual manufacturers will also have access to Covid-19 vaccines once approved. It also provides developed countries, like the UK, with an insurance policy as it increases their likelihood of securing additional vaccine doses.