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An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, today (Thursday) joined world leaders at the virtual Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by the UK Government, where he pledged increased Irish support for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Ireland is increasing its funding contribution to Gavi by 20% to €18 million over the five years 2021-25, to help in the global effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and to support vaccination programmes worldwide.

This virtual summit, hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, aims to raise at least $7.4 billion USD to support Gavi’s work to immunise the world’s poorest children, and to ensure that everyone has access to a vaccine for COVID-19. Over the period 2021-25, Gavi aims to immunise an additional 300 million children, work which will save 7 to 8 million lives.

Speaking at the event Taoiseach said:

“Vaccines have been saving and improving lives for decades. They have transformed medical outcomes across the globe. Never before have so many been working so hard to develop a new vaccine. All around the world researchers are working in innovative collaboration, using cutting edge medical technologies, to find a vaccine forCOVID-19. We hope that they are successful – and quickly.

“A vaccine for COVID-19 will need to be affordable as well as effective, because if we are to be safe, everyone will need to be safe. So a COVID-19 vaccine will need to be distributed equitably, fairly and globally. Nobody can be left behind, or we will all be at risk. Ireland strongly supports GAVI’s objective to save 22 million lives by increasing the number of children immunised to over 1.1 billion.”

Highlighting the importance of fair and equitable distribution of a vaccine for COVID-19 and that Gavi’s work to maintain routine immunisation remains essential, the Taoiseach added:

“In a time of crisis, conflict and COVID-19 we need to protect essential health services, including vaccine programmes, and avoid disruption.”

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