Importance of vaccines – why Global Vaccine Summit 2020 matters

The UK’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, Julian Braithwaite hosted a virtual briefing today for Geneva based Missions for ahead of the Global Vaccine Summit on 4 June. He was joined by Seth Berkley (Gavi CEO), Sir Andrew Witty (WHO Vaccine Envoy), Rachel Glennerster (DFID Chief Economist) and Richard Clarke (DFID Director General).

The purpose of the briefing was to discuss the UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit 2020 – the next major global health moment. It marks the end of an 18-month drive to secure investment for the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi). Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has supported vaccinations in 68 of the world’s poorest countries.

The Summit will see UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson host Heads of State and global health leaders in a virtual format, with the aim of uniting the international community behind Gavi’s mission and raising further funds to reach the $7.4 billion target.

The event was in the calendar long before COVID-19, but the ongoing pandemic has meant that Gavi’s work is more relevant than ever. During today’s briefing, the speakers explained that Gavi’s work in the world’s poorest countries will be critical to:

• Sustaining immunisation coverage on vaccine preventable diseases.
• Bolstering the resilience of primary health care systems to tackle COVID-19.
• Ensuring the distribution of a COVID-19 if and when it is available.

The UK announced last month that it will commit the equivalent of £330 million a year over the next five years to Gavi. The speakers agreed that it was encouraging to see other countries coming forward with their respective pledges and called for active participation in the Summit next week.

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