UK joins initiative for Covid-19 vaccine discovery, manufacture and distribution

The UK has joined Covax, the international initiative to support discovery, manufacture and fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccines for one billion people by the end of 2021.

Covax is the vaccines pillar of the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a global collaboration to speed up the development, production, and equitable access to coronavirus tests, treatments, and vaccines.

It is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Covax is looking to invest six billion US dollars (£4.56 billion) to secure access to a diverse portfolio of vaccine candidates.

The UK is working with international partners to set up Covax as quickly as possible, which will support access to any coronavirus vaccine in the UK for millions of people.

On June 4 at the Global Vaccines Summit, the UK announced £48 million to finance Covax vaccines for lower income countries.

Business Secretary 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.”