2 April, 2021
As, in the UK, we begin to emerge from what we all hope will be the final lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are rightly turning attention to the wider world. It is critical that everyone, including those in the poorest countries, is able to move on from this crisis.
Vaccines are one key element of this. We wrote a few weeks ago about our work supporting VaccinAid, a new fundraising initiative to expediate the global vaccine rollout. At time of writing, the total raised stands at £310,000, and we are calling on everyone to help drive that number up. This week a letter to Boris Johnson from charities including The Wellcome Trust and Save the Children increased pressure to ensure that surplus vaccines, expected to number around 100 million, are donated to the poorest countries.
Vaccines are critical, but they are not the whole story. The Global Fund, a charitable partnership set up at the start of the century to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is calling for greater focus on the fundamentals of testing and isolation amongst the most vulnerable. It took seven years for antiretrovirals tackling HIV to reach the poorest communities, during which time many millions died. Funding testing equipment could be the cheapest and quickest way to help protect the most vulnerable.
Finally, for vaccines and testing to play their role across the world, we need international cooperation. This week a group of more than 20 world leaders called for an international treaty to provide the cooperation, coordination and anti-protectionism necessary to deal with future pandemics. This has to be a moment when the world moves together.
By Ben Wood