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South Asia: Coronavirus

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 16785, tabled on 16 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to support the covid-19 vaccine roll-out in (a) India, (b) Sri Lanka and (c) Nepal; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

25 June 2021

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK has championed the importance of rapid, equitable access to safe and effective vaccines. We are among the largest donors to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), committing £548 million, which through match-funding leveraged $1 billion from other donors in 2020. This support has been critical to COVAX's distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to over 130 countries and economies, including India, Sri Lanka and Nepal, and support for countries to assess vaccine introduction readiness, develop detailed national deployment and vaccination plans, and strengthen delivery systems. The UK has also committed to sharing 100 million vaccine doses by June 2022, with the majority going to COVAX.

In India, the Foreign Secretary launched the UK-India Vaccines Hub in December 2020, which has expanded collaboration between our two countries on vaccine trials, regulation, and vaccination strategies. Our two vaccine task forces are in regular contact, discussing the acceleration of the vaccine programme, target groups, dose intervals, and the best strategies to increase vaccine confidence.

In Nepal, we have provided expert support to the Ministry of Health and Population's COVID Rapid Response Plan, including by designing warehouses in all seven provinces suitable for vaccine storage. UK funded experts have also supported the government of Nepal with its vaccine deployment plan, budgeting, and vaccine roll out information management.