UK Begins Donating Millions of Covid-19 Vaccines Overseas

AstraZeneca vaccine to be given by the UK.
AstraZeneca vaccine to be given by the UK.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced today that the UK will begin delivering nine million COVID-19 vaccines around the world this week, first to Indonesia, Jamaica and Kenya, to help tackle the pandemic.

“The UK is sending 415,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Laos as part of the first batch of the 100 million doses we’ve pledged, to get the most vulnerable parts of the world vaccinated as a matter of urgency. We’re doing this because we know we won’t be safe until everyone is safe.” – Dominic Raab said.

Five million doses of vaccines are being offered to COVAX to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines globally. COVAX is urgently delivering these to lower-income countries, prioritising communities who need them most. Another four million doses will be shared bilaterally with countries in need, including Laos.

This week’s deployment is expected to reach Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand in coming days, among other countries. Each of these countries have been provided with 415,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, made by Oxford Biomedica in Oxford.

Countries experiencing higher COVID-19 cases and deaths have been offered more vaccines – 600,000 doses have been given to Indonesia, 817,000 to Africa, and about 500,000 doses more to be shared across several countries in the Caribbean.

The Foreign Secretary’s announcement provided that this is the first tranche of 100 million vaccines pledged by the British Prime Minister at last month’s G7 Summit, to help developing countries tackle COVID-19. At least 80 million doses from that will go to COVAX, with the rest shared bilaterally to countries in need.

At the G7 Summit last month, world leaders pledged to mobilise 1 billion vaccine doses to vaccinate the world and end the pandemic in 2022.

The UK’s lead on the global response to COVID-19 in the last year includes £90 million invested to develop an affordable vaccine for all – the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – and over half a billion doses have been distributed at a non-profit price globally, more than half of which were given to lower and middle-income countries. The COVAX facility was kick-started in 2020 with a £548 million vaccine funding from the British government for lower-income countries.