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Jakarta Post

Together we can beat the pandemic

  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan


London   /   Fri, May 8, 2020   /   10:03 am
Together we can beat the pandemic A tribute to the NHS is seen at Herne Hill, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 7, 2020. (REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

Right now, the fast global spread of coronavirus means no one is safe from this pandemic until we are all safe.

In many countries, people have made enormous personal sacrifices to slow the spread of this virus. But only one thing will stop this pandemic in its tracks: a vaccine.

We are all contributing to the war on this disease in different ways. The United Kingdom has stepped up to become the biggest donor to the international fund to develop a coronavirus vaccine, which will save lives and livelihoods around the world, including in our two countries.

Our scientists at the University of Oxford have begun human trials and are partnering with another British success story, AstraZeneca — one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies — to make sure we are ready to manufacture a workable vaccine at scale.

The global sense of community among nations is remarkable as we work together towards this common goal to find a cure. The only way we will succeed is by bringing together our resources, science and expertise to prevent a second wave of infection.

As such, the UK was very proud to cohost on May 4 the Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference with Japan, Germany, France, Canada, Norway, Italy, Saudi Arabia and the European Commission.

This is a pledging event aiming to raise US$8 billion from governments and global organizations for the research and development of vaccines, treatments and tests to help end the coronavirus pandemic and prevent future waves of infection.

The UK has pledged significant support to achieve this aim, including the world’s largest donation to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations fund to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

The more countries, businesses and global organizations pull together to pool their expertise, the faster our scientists will succeed in finding a vaccine, accessible and affordable for all.

The international momentum to find a vaccine is growing.

Now our nations must work together to build on this by making sure when we do find a vaccine, it will reach the people who need it.

This week’s pledging event to help find a vaccine is only the beginning. On June 4 the UK will play virtual host to the Global Vaccine Summit focused on raising funds to help Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. I am delighted the Indonesian government is attending.

To kick off the international investment push, last week I announced new UK funding for Gavi to vaccinate up to 75 million children in the world’s poorest countries. We have pledged funding equivalent to 330 million pounds ($41 million) a year for the next five years.

Gavi’s work is integral to stopping diseases spreading globally and protecting countries like yours and mine from future pandemics.

Gavi has a superb track record delivering life-saving vaccinations, and pledges to the Alliance will help support their work in 68 different countries. Once a coronavirus vaccine is developed, Gavi will also play an integral role to ensure global distribution.

The UK and Indonesia can work together to get this right because the only way for us to defeat this global disease is through global cooperation.

The UK is not only giving its support to the pledging conference today, we are calling on our international partners to do the same. We need everyone to pull together and work together.

Ministerial colleagues, whether in the UK or in your own country, were standing together at May 4 pledging initiative. We are urging other countries to step up and make their contributions to overcome this crisis for our common good.

As our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said at the conference: “The race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries, but the most urgent shared endeavor of our lifetimes. We are in this together and together we will win.”


United Kingdom International Development secretary

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.