The UK has taken a lead role in mobilising $1 billion in funding from global donors to support vulnerable countries to access coronavirus vaccines – stopping the spread of the disease.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has partnered with the United Nations for the coronavirus COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) through match-funding other donors.
The British government had pledged £548 million of UK aid as part of the funding scheme to help distribute one billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to 92 developing countries this year.
The UK announced at the United Nations General Assembly last September that it would match every $4 pledged to the COVAX AMC by other donors with £1 in UK funding, up to £250 million.
The news comes as the UK and countries around the world continue to grapple with COVID-19 pandemic and the new challenge posed by the rapidly spreading variant.
The UK has already started shipping supplies of the COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to the Overseas Territories starting with Cayman, Bermuda, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The roll-out of vaccines for which Britain was at the forefront in approving and starting a national vaccination campaign is seen as the light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.
The UK has the highest COVID infection and deaths in the European area, and new figures released this week showed that the pandemic has caused excess deaths in the country to rise to their highest level since World War Two.
With the new year just started, the country, especially England, was facing its ‘worst weeks of this pandemic’ according to officials,with hospitals in England struggling to cope with growing numbers of COVID-19 patients.
Most of the UK is under strict lockdown measures.
The picture in the US is just as grim, if not worse, with some experts forecasting that it could hit one million COVID-19 deaths by May following the current trajectory.
The US set a grim milestone Monday as the country recorded over 200,000 new Covid-19 cases for seven consecutive days, topping 300,000 in one day alone.
Just a week into the new year, the death toll for a single day reached a record 4,000 from causes linked to COVID-19.
Globally, as countries institute another phase of tough measures to control a second outbreak of the disease, the number of cases was edging towards 100 million within the sobering prospect of two million deaths by the end of this month.