Johnson calls for ‘new era of global health collaboration’ at vaccine summit

London, June 4 (efe-epa).- The British prime minister called for a “new era of global health collaboration” at the launch of a virtual vaccine summit on Thursday which seeks to raise funds to distribute vaccines to combat infectious diseases in developing countries.

At the summit chaired by the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson urged world leaders to help raise at least $7.4 billion for Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, which is part-funded by Bill and Melinda Gates, to protect the next generation with vaccines, reduce inequality and boost access to immunization programs.

“To defeat coronavirus we must use our collective ingenuity in the search for a vaccine and ensure that countries, pharmaceutical companies and international partners like the World Health Organisation cooperate on a scale beyond anything we have seen before,” Johnson said.

“We must use the collective purchasing power of Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance to make that future vaccine affordable and available to all who need it,” he added.

The British PM highlighted the importance of strengthening routine immunization against preventable diseases across the world, particularly in the poorest countries, as well as the need to continue investing in vaccine programs through Gavi.

The goal of the Gavi summit, an organization founded in 2000 of which the UK is the main donor, is to raise at least $ 7.4 billion to vaccinate 300 million children in countries with fewer resources and with diseases like polio, diphtheria and measles.

The UK has pledged 1.65 billion GBP over the next five years and Johnson called on other leaders to follow suit.

“I urge you to join us to fortify this life-saving alliance and inaugurate a new era of global health cooperation which I believe is now the most essential shared endeavor of our lifetimes,” the PM said.

Representatives of various organizations and countries sent messages to the virtual summit, including United States President Donald Trump, who said: “As the coronavirus has shown, there are no borders, it doesn’t discriminate, it’s mean, it’s nasty but we are all going to take care of it together.”

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres urged the world to engage in three commitments: To find safe ways to continue delivering vaccinations despite the spread of Covid-19; to use immunization networks to deliver other primary health care services; and to ensure that when a Covid-19 vaccine becomes available it reaches everyone.

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