[Reprinted: CNW, 8-6-2020]
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The United Kingdom has come to the aid of countries in the region by providing access to vaccinations for COVID-19.
The Foreign Secretaries of the UK and Mexico, Dominic Raab and Marcelo Ebrard, have stated that ensuring equitable access to vaccines, treatments and tests to all in the Caribbean and Latin America through international and regional collaboration, is the only solution to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.
They were both speaking during a joint virtual seminar under the theme: ‘Accelerating access to COVID-19 vaccines in Latin America and the Caribbean’. They were joined by senior policymakers and scientists from across the region.
The event was co-hosted by the UK and Mexico on Wednesday and highlighted the importance of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to ensure global access to vaccines, treatments and tests to face COVID-19.
Caribbean and Latin American countries were represented by government officials from a variety of ministries and departments as well as representatives of development banks and health alliances, who highlighted the need for collaboration between governments, international institutions and businesses.
“In order to end this terrible pandemic and kick-start our global recovery, we must make vaccines, treatments and tests accessible for all, from Britain to Brazil, Ethiopia to Ecuador, Turkey to Trinidad and Tobago, and everywhere in-between,” said Rabb.
While British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Janet Douglas said the interest in this semina, is proof of the urgent need for all countries across the hemisphere and across the globe to have equitable access to vaccines.”
The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation.
Finding a coronavirus vaccine and supporting equitable access to it, including for Latin America and the Caribbean countries, is a priority for the UK Government. The UK is collaborating with the international community to support the rapid development and manufacturing of safe, effective vaccines as well as treatments and tests to ensure widespread global access.
The UK has already committed up to £313 million of UKAID to support research and development for vaccines, treatments and tests to ensure new tools are available to all, including the world’s poorest countries.
The UK also co-hosted June’s Global Vaccine Summit, which mobilised US$8.8 billion to replenish Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Gavi’s work in the poorest countries is critical to sustaining immunisation coverage and bolstering the resilience of primary health care systems needed to tackle COVID-19.
In recent days, a study revealed the promising results of the Oxford University vaccine Phase I/II trials, one of a number of projects supported by the UK Government.