Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson standing in front of the government's slogan "Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives" as he speaks during a remote press conference to update the nation on the COVID-19 pandemic, inside 10 Downing Street in central London on June 3, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)
LONDON - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened the Global Vaccine Summit virtually on Thursday, urging countries and organizations to pledge funding for vaccinations to save millions of lives in the poorest countries and protect the world from future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
The summit hosted by Britain aims to mobilize at least US$7.4 billion for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in additional resources to protect the next generation with vaccines, reduce disease inequality and create a healthier, safer and more prosperous world.
The summit is expected to raise money to immunize a further 300 million children in world's poorest countries by 2025, protecting them from deadly diseases like polio, diphtheria and measles, and also helping ensure the global recovery from COVID-19 pandemic
Addressing attendees from over 50 countries and organisations, Johnson said in his opening speech that the summit is a moment "when the world comes together to unite humanity in the fight against disease".
"I urge you to join us to fortify this lifesaving alliance and inaugurate a new era of global health co-operation, which I believe is now the most essential shared endeavour of our lifetimes," he added.
Britain is contributing 1.65 billion pounds (about US$2.07 billion) to Gavi over the next five years, according to Johnson.
In specific, the summit is expected to raise money to immunize a further 300 million children in world's poorest countries by 2025, protecting them from deadly diseases like polio, diphtheria and measles, and also helping ensure the global recovery from COVID-19 pandemic.
As the world focuses on tackling novel coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and Gavi have warned that the pandemic is disrupting routine immunization, affecting approximately 80 million children under the age of one across the world.
Health experts have warned that if coronavirus is left to spread in developing countries, this could lead to future waves of infection reaching the developed countries including Britain.
If a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine is developed, Gavi will have a role in its delivery around the world.
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