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UK ‘stepping up as global leader’ on vaccine funding

Country has provided around 40 per cent of global funding for Covid-19 vaccine development

An international initiative struggling to develop Covid-19 vaccines has praised the UK’s response to “a world in crisis” as it struggles to reach its funding goal.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations said it was “extremely grateful” for the country’s “substantial contribution”, following pledges of £250 million from the UK government.

“This decisive action and financial support from the UK government comes at a pivotal moment for a world that is in crisis,” said Jodie Rogers, a communications officer at CEPI.

“The UK has a long history of global health leadership and the country is once again stepping up as a global leader in its support for CEPI and our crucial work to accelerate the development of a vaccine against Covid-19.”

In March 2020, the initiative issued an urgent call for $2 billion (£1.6bn) of funding to develop safe and effective vaccines against Covid-19. But it has so far only raised $765 million.

Other donors include the governments of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, as well as businesses and public donations routed through the United Nations.

“CEPI still urgently needs additional financial contributions to ensure that the vaccine programmes we have initiated can continue to progress at their current pace,” said Rogers.

But she, like others, also called for more support for other disease research, as fears rise that focus on a single virus could divert money from non-Covid threats to global health. In particular, she said, investment is needed for work pursuing vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and the creation of better outbreak response capacity.