Rachel Galloway, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to North Macedonia. Photo credit: British Embassy Skopje

As the uncertainty around Covid-19 continues, nations from all over the world have been cooperating closely to align efforts to develop a safe, effective and globally accessible vaccine, and are hoping to achieve this goal in record time.

While restrictive measurements, including social distancing, have bought us time and given us an element of control, a working vaccine and effective treatments are what we really need to end the pandemic and allow us to begin global economic recovery.

Developing and distributing a safe and effective vaccine in such a short amount of time is a global effort. It requires determination, collaboration and continued sharing of expertise. Countries, governments, scientists and pharmaceutical companies all need to coordinate to ensure that we achieve our ambitions for a vaccine as quickly as possible. Not only will it save countless lives, it will allow us to concentrate on repairing our economies.

The UK is investing heavily in vaccine development and is driving forward this unprecedented global collaboration. Investments need to be made early, to ensure that we have the capacity to manufacture and distribute vaccines at scale and at high speed across the globe. A safe and effective vaccine needs to reach every corner of the globe as soon as possible. We must not leave anyone behind.

The UK has already committed £313m for the development of new vaccines, treatments and tests, in addition to our £1.65bn commitment to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s vital immunisation work across the world.

Following the UK co-hosted Global Coronavirus Response Initiative on 4 May, our Prime Minister will be hosting the Global Vaccine Summit on 4 June. This is a virtual event that brings together leaders from around the world to pledge their support to Gavi. We are hoping to raise at least US$7.4 billion to protect a further 300 million more children against infectious diseases like measles, typhoid and polio. It is essential that we can maintain routine immunisation throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The Global Vaccine Summit is also an opportunity to outline Gavi’s role in obtaining and distributing a coronavirus vaccine. Gavi is already working hard with partners to ensure that any future vaccine is effective, safe and can be delivered around the world. An equally distributed vaccine will be the world’s best defence against coronavirus, facilitating our shared recovery and reducing the risk of repeated outbreaks.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we are all able to continue to have our regular online meetings with colleagues, contacts and Ministers. Just this week, Health Minister Venko Filipce and I discussed the importance of vaccines and the steps that the UK and North Macedonia have been taking to control the spread of the disease.

We are extremely proud to be working alongside international partners in oUK ur fight against the coronavirus. By expanding and maintaining this close cooperation, we can increase testing, develop new vaccines and treatments made accessible to everyone who needs them, as soon as possible, to end this pandemic for good.

Rachel Galloway, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to North Macedonia