Boris Johnson urges world to unite to fund coronavirus vaccine

Boris Johnson hosts global summit to urge the world to unite to fund coronavirus vaccines and treatments as UK pledges £744m – but the US and China decide not to take part

  • Boris Johnson today co-hosted a global summit to raise money for vaccine fund 
  • PM urged world to unite against ‘common enemy’ as UK committed £744 million
  • But China and the US both opted not to take part in the Pledging Conference 
  • Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Norway, Saudi Arabia and EU took part 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Boris Johnson today hosted a global summit as he urged countries around the world to unite and help pay for the development of coronavirus vaccines and treatments – but the US and China chose not to attend. 

The Prime Minister said the world needed to come together ‘against our common enemy’ as he boasted of the UK’s £744 million commitment to a global response war chest. 

He said every nation needed to help create an ‘impregnable shield around all our people’ in the form of a vaccine. 

The virtual summit was attended by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the European Commission. 

But neither Washington nor Beijing opted to take part as the Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference missed out on the initial support of the world’s two biggest economic powers.

Boris Johnson today urged the world to unite to fund the development of coronavirus vaccines and treatments – but the US and China did not attend a virtual summit hosted by the PM

The UK is already the biggest donor to the global fund to find a coronavirus vaccine and Mr Johnson urged other countries to join the ‘truly global effort’ to defeat the disease. 

Today’s pledging event represents the start of a month-long drive for investment before a Global Vaccine Summit is hosted by the UK on June 4. 

In his message to the summit, Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m delighted that the UK is co-hosting this summit and joining forces with all of you against our common enemy, the coronavirus.

‘In our own countries, we have taken extraordinary measures, asking our people to accept sweeping restrictions on their way of life, and by doing so, we have formed a human shield around our health systems, enabling our heroic health workers to save many lives – including my own.

‘But the truth is that none of us can succeed alone.

‘To win this battle, we must work together to build an impregnable shield around all our people, and that can only be achieved by developing and mass producing a vaccine.’

Mr Johnson said ‘the more we pull together and share our expertise, the faster our scientists will succeed’ in developing vaccines and treatments.

‘The UK is the biggest donor to the efforts of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to find a vaccine,’ he said.

‘We have committed up to £744 million for the global response to coronavirus, including our pledge of £388 million for the vital research and development of vaccines, treatments and tests, and that is the focus of today’s conference.’

The PM insisted the ‘race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes’.  

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman was asked at lunchtime if Mr Johnson was disappointed that the US and China did not take part in the summit. 

The spokesman replied: ‘The UK continues to work closely with all of our international partners including the US and China to stop the spread of the virus. It is a truly global effort and no one will be able to do this alone. 

‘Today’s summit is just the start of a pledging progress where states can commit vital funds to the global efforts to development vaccines, treatments and tests. 

‘We are encouraging all countries, businesses and institutions to join forces to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.’  

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