PETALING JAYA: The UK will this week begin delivering nine million Covid-19 vaccines around the world, including to Malaysia to help tackle the pandemic, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced in London yesterday.

Five million doses are being offered to Covax, the scheme to ensure equitable, global access to Covid-19 vaccines.

Covax will urgently distribute them to lower-income countries via an equitable allocation system, which prioritises delivering vaccines to people who most need them. Another four million doses will be shared directly with countries in need.

Malaysia is among the countries receiving the first batch of UK’s bilateral donation of vaccines.

The UK is donating to Malaysia 415,000 doses of the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, made by Oxford Biomedica in Oxford and packaged in Wrexham, North Wales.

This is the first tranche of the 100 million vaccines the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged the UK would share within the next year at last month’s G7 in Cornwall, with 30 million due to be sent by the end of the year.

At least 80 million of the 100 million doses will go to Covax, with the rest going to countries directly. The donations follow the pledge that G7 leaders made to vaccinate the world and end the pandemic in 2022.

“The UK is sending 415,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Malaysia as part of the first batch of the 100 million doses we’ve pledged. We’re doing this to help the most vulnerable, but also because we know we won’t be safe until everyone is safe,”UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

“I am pleased that Malaysia is among the first to receive the vaccines from the UK on a bilateral basis. This vaccine donation reflects the UK’s commitment to help our friends in Malaysia. We believe that this will give a boost to the ongoing vaccination rollout, and help protect more lives here,” British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay said.

The UK has been at the forefront of the global response to Covid-19, including through investing £90 million to support the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Over half a billion doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been delivered at a non-profit price globally, with two-thirds going to lower and middle-income countries.

The UK also kickstarted efforts to establish Covax in 2020, providing a total of £548 million to fund vaccines for lower income countries.

The scheme has delivered more than 152 million vaccine doses to over 137 countries and territories, including in 83 lower-middle income countries. 65% of the initial vaccine doses have been Oxford-AstraZeneca.

Covax aims to deliver 1.8 billion vaccines to lower-income countries around the world by early 2022.

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