Britain’s Johnson wants to cut vaccine development time by two-thirds

Henrietta Strickland
February 19, 2021

Johnson wants to use the country's presidency to initiate closer cooperation on the distribution of coronavirus vaccines. But there remain more than 100 poorer countries where not a single dose has been given.

The advocacy group, which campaigns against poverty and preventable diseases, said a failure to do so would deny billions of people essential protection from the Covid-19-causing virus and likely prolong the pandemic.

Johnson also confirmed that Britain would share the majority of any future surplus vaccine with the UN-backed Covax initiative that distributes vaccines fairly between richer and poorer countries.

This would significantly reduce the risk of deaths from Covid-19, it said, as well as limiting the chances of new virus variants emerging and accelerating an end to the pandemic. Johnson's office didn't say how many doses the U.K.'s prepared to contribute from its stock.

US officials, speaking to journalists on condition of anonymity ahead of the call, said that President Joe Biden would announce a total of $4 billion in funding for COVAX but that the country did not plan to share any of its doses with other nations until its domestic vaccination needs were met.

United Kingdom chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has meanwhile been tasked to work with the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which first outlined the 100-day ambition to develop new jabs, to advise the G7 on accelerating the process of devising vaccines.

The UK has ordered more than 400 million doses of various vaccines, so many will be left over once all adults are vaccinated. However, the volume of surplus will depend on the vaccine supply chain and whether booster shots are needed in the autumn.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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