UK donating millions of COVID vaccines overseas, Caribbean to benefit

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Loop News

Among them:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Belize
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The United Kingdom will soon share its COVID-19 vaccine bounty with other territories.

This as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, announced plans to deliver nine million vaccines to other countries to aid their attempts to battle the pandemic.

Jamaica, Kenya and Indonesia are among the countries to receive doses when the vaccines start leaving the UK this week.

According to a statement issued by the UK Government, five million doses are being offered to COVAX, the scheme to ensure equitable, global access to COVID-19 vaccines. 

COVAX will urgently distribute them to lower-income countries via an equitable allocation system that prioritises delivering vaccines to people who most need them. 

Another 4 million doses will be shared directly with countries in need.

Indonesia will receive 600,000 doses, 300,000 will be sent to Jamaica and 817,000 are to be transported to Kenya, among other countries.

The UK is donating the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, made by Oxford Biomedica in Oxford.

This is the first tranche of the 100 million vaccines the Prime Minister pledged the UK would share within the next year at last month’s G7 in Cornwall, with 30 million due to be sent by the end of the year. At least 80 million of the 100 million doses will go to COVAX, with the rest going to countries directly. The donations will help meet the pledge that G7 leaders made to vaccinate the world and end the pandemic in 2022.

This week’s deployment will help meet the urgent need for vaccines from countries around the world, including in Africa, South East Asia and the Caribbean. These regions are experiencing high levels of COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The UK is sending 9 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, the first batch of the 100 million doses we’ve pledged, to get the most vulnerable parts of the world vaccinated as a matter of urgency. We’re doing this to help the most vulnerable, but also because we know we won’t be safe until everyone is safe. The UK has been at the forefront of the global response to COVID-19, including through investing £90 million to support the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Over half a billion doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been delivered at a non-profit price globally, with two-thirds going to lower- and middle-income countries.”

Foreign Secretary  Raab said the UK kickstarted efforts to establish COVAX in 2020, providing a total of £548 million to fund vaccines for lower-income countries. 

The scheme has delivered more than 152 million vaccine doses to over 137 countries and territories, including in 83 lower-middle-income countries.

Sixty-five per cent of the initial vaccine doses have been Oxford-AstraZeneca. COVAX aims to deliver 1.8 billion vaccines to lower-income countries around the world by early 2022.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid: “This is a global pandemic and COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect people and prevent the emergence of new variants. We want to make sure developing countries can build a wall of defence against the virus as we have in the UK through our vaccine rollout.”

The United Kingdom is one of the largest donors to COVAX and according to Javid, this donation is part of the governments pledge to send 100 million vaccines to some of the world’s poorest countries.

He said: “The Government has secured enough doses for all UK residents, crown dependencies and overseas territories to support our ongoing vaccination programme and booster programme.”

Meanwhile, Sir Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President BioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, said: “Each day we’re making progress in our mission to change the course of this pandemic by providing broad and equitable access to AstraZeneca’s vaccine. We are proud that over 80% of countries across the world have received doses of our vaccine, with two-thirds supplied to lower middle income and low-income countries. The close collaboration between UK Government and our academic and industry partners is critical to ensure we deliver vaccines at speed and protect as many people as possible against this deadly virus.”

Several Caribbean countries stand to benefit directly from the UKs generosity.

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