And this time, we’re tackling those hard problems and working across borders to launch an unprecedented collaboration to make and share vaccines on a truly global scale. COVAX’s goal is to ensure every country is able to vaccinate its most vulnerable people.
From the first pledging events in April to the UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit in June to the Prime Minister’s speech at the UN General Assembly last month, the UK has been working closely with other countries and NGOs to build the financial and political support necessary to turn this idealistic vision into a practical reality. By enabling us to work with partners overseas, our participation in COVAX will help us to secure a vaccine for UK citizens.
A vaccine is close, believe me: over 40 of the world’s 240 vaccine candidates are in clinical trials. Some are in advanced phase three trials. But simply discovering a vaccine is not enough. The job is not yet done – we will need to continue to work together to solve the shared challenges to a global immunisation campaign. We will need creative thinking at the largest and the smallest scales.
I hope you can see why all this requires effort, funding and creative thinking. The groundwork is already being laid but there is much still to do. The UK is proud of its part in this ground-breaking collaborative effort, bringing over 170 countries united in purpose, strategy and resolve together.
It is almost 60 years since Kennedy uttered those words at his inauguration in Washington. I hope that by the time the actual anniversary comes around, we will have gone a long way towards proving that, united, there is little we cannot do.
- Kate Bingham is chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce. Listen to the Vaccinating the world. Covid-19: The Search for a Vaccine at Apple podcast for more on what is being done to ensure that countries are not left behind if a successful vaccine is developed and manufacture, supply, storage and distribution support for all countries.
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