Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance: Coronavirus

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 8th September 2020.

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Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Conservative, North East Hertfordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on routine immunisation funded by the UK Government through GAVI.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Routine immunisation is the strongest shield against outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles and yellow fever. Mitigating indirect impacts of COVID-19 on essential health services in the poorest countries is a core UK priority. As Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance's largest donor, the UK's first and foremost priority is to deliver routine immunisation, maintain coverage levels, and reach underserved zero-dose children. In June, the Prime Minister hosted the Global Vaccine Summit, which raised $8.8 billion for Gavi's core mission of immunising a further 300 million children, and saving up to 8 million lives by 2025.

Since the start of the pandemic in March, 70 Gavi-eligible countries have reported cases of COVID-19. Lockdown measures for COVID-19 have affected routine immunisation in the poorest countries - 44 Gavi vaccine introductions have been impacted so far, 18 Gavi-eligible countries have reported shipment delays, and approximately seven countries have reported stock-outs of vaccines at the central or subnational level. A number of Gavi-eligible countries have resumed campaigns and vaccine introductions, such as a measles campaign in Ethiopia, and diphtheria and oral polio vaccine campaigns in Yemen.

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