LONDON, United Kingdom — Britain said on Sunday it has helped raise $1 billion (818 million euros) from global donors towards the drive to help "vulnerable countries" access coronavirus vaccines, by match-funding contributions.
The UK said, in addition, it has committed £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), after matching with £1 every $4 pledged by other donors.
Canada, Japan and Germany are among the countries to make contributions that it matched, helping the AMC raise more than $1.7 billion in total so far.
The fund will allow for the distribution of one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to 92 developing countries this year, according to Britain's Foreign Office.
"We'll only be safe from this virus, when we're all safe — which is why we're focused on a global solution to a global problem," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.
The announcement came as Britain marks the 75th anniversary of the first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in London, hosting UN Secretary-General António Guterres for a so-called virtual visit starting Sunday.
Guterres will on Monday meet Raab and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as Alok Sharma, who was this week designated full-time president of the UN's next major climate summit, COP26, in November.
Sharma had previously done the role part-time alongside his UK government job of secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, which he left Friday.
Ahead of the virtual visit, Guterres said he was honoured to "renew our cause of overcoming global challenges together, and celebrate a country that was instrumental in creating the United Nations".
Also on Monday, Guterres and global leaders will try to reignite international environmental diplomacy with a biodiversity summit to launch a critical year for efforts to stem the devastating effects of global warming and species loss.
The One Planet Summit, a largely virtual event hosted by France in partnership with the United Nations and the World Bank, will include French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Union chief Ursula Von der Leyen.
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 9, 2021 - 5:58pm
Pharma giants Sanofi and GSK said on July 29, 2020, that they have agreed to supply Britain with up to 60 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The agreement covers a vaccine candidate developed by France's Sanofi in partnership with the UK's GSK and is subject to a "final contract."
This thread collects some of the major developments in the search for a vaccine to ease the new coronavirus pandemic. (Main photo by AFP/Joel Saget)
January 9, 2021 - 5:58pm
Officials say the manufacturers of two COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac and Oxford-AstraZeneca filed the first applications Friday for regulatory approval in hard-hit Brazil.
Federal health regulator Anvisa now has 10 days to respond to the applications, though it said that could include asking the sponsors for more information.
One application was submitted by the Butantan Institute, a public health center in Sao Paulo that is working with Sinovac to test and produce its CoronaVac vaccine. — AFP
January 6, 2021 - 8:49pm
The European Medicines Agency says on Wednesday that it had given the green light for US firm Moderna's coronavirus vaccine, the second jab for the disease to be cleared for use in the EU.
"EMA has recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 in people from 18 years of age," the Amsterdam-based regulator says in a statement. — AFP
January 6, 2021 - 7:10am
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says in his first address of the new year that he was "frustrated" by the slow pace of COVID-19 inoculations across Canada, three weeks into a vaccination campaign.
The Canadian government has so far distributed 424,500 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines -- the only ones authorized to date in Canada -- to its provinces and territories responsible for the vaccination program, according to official figures.
But only about 148,000 doses of vaccine have been administered so far, according to local media. — AFP
January 5, 2021 - 6:57pm
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the possibility of jointly producing coronavirus vaccines in a phone call, the Kremlin says Tuesday.
"Issues of cooperation in combating the coronavirus pandemic were discussed with an emphasis on the possible prospects for joint production of vaccines," the Kremlin says in a statement. — AFP
January 5, 2021 - 2:08pm
Under mounting pressure to speed up coronavirus vaccinations, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday says he would not take "unnecessary risks" and emulate Britain's emergency drug approval.
While vaccinations are already well underway in many countries, Australia's pharmaceutical authority is not expected to rule on candidate drugs for around another month, and is aiming to administer the first doses by the end of March.
Pressed about that seemingly sluggish timetable, Morrison — who early in the pandemic boasted Australia would be "at the front of the queue" for any vaccine — suggested virus-ravaged countries like Britain had been forced to take risks with emergency approvals. — AFP