Written Question on Coronavirus: Disease control

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

See more on: "Coronavirus: Disease control"
Date Title Questioner
22 Jun 2020, 11:59 a.m. Coronavirus: Disease control Lord Kennedy of Southwark


Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to establish a permanent body to (1) seek to avert future pandemics, and (2) ensure affordable, widespread availability of vaccines and therapies to treat COVID-19 as they become available.

Answer (Lord Bethell)

The United Kingdom believes that the World Health Organization (WHO) has an important role to play in leading the health response to COVID-19 and in longer term leadership in global health including preparedness. We also want to see WHO continue to learn lessons on how to improve its response to global health emergencies and as such would expect a full review of all elements of their response once they are out of response mode, as has occurred after previous Public Health Emergencies of International Concern. The UK intends to engage constructively with a future review, including working with other governments.

Since 2017, we have, through the Department’s Global Health Security Programme, used our public health expertise to provide technical support to countries. This technical support and knowledge sharing helps build resilient public health care systems to prevent, detect and respond to disease and to better manage future public health emergencies including pandemics.

The UK supports strong mechanisms to promote equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. At the Global Vaccine Summit on 4 June 2020, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, launched a new Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for COVID-19 vaccines aimed at incentivising vaccine manufacturers to produce sufficient quantities of eventual COVID-19 vaccines, and to ensure access for developing countries with a primary focus on subsidising vaccines for the poorest countries. The UK committed £48 million to the AMC at the Summit.

In addition, the UK supported AstraZeneca’s announcement at the Summit of a $750 million agreement with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi to support the manufacturing, procurement and distribution of 300 million vaccine doses globally this year, including for the world’s poorest countries. AstraZeneca also announced a deal with the Serum Institute of India to manufacture a further 1 billion doses for distribution to developing countries.

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