The death and disruption caused by the novel coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented in our lifetimes. It is a truly global crisis: with 6.5 million cases in 213 countries and territories around the world, 388,000 deaths, and a devastating impact on our economies and way of life.
That's why countries around the world are coming together for a joint mission to develop and distribute Covid-19 vaccines that are safe, affordable and accessible for all.
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On Thursday night (NZ time) Prime Minister Boris Johnson will open the UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit. It will be a virtual event, as most are in these times of Covid, with nations around the world pledging funding to GAVI, the Global Vaccine Alliance, for vaccines to protect the world from future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
This year's summit will focus on the urgent global action needed in the fight against Covid-19. Without a concerted effort to combat Covid-19, we may well face subsequent waves of infection. The impact on developing countries, including here in the Pacific, will be devastating, whether as a result of the illness itself, or from the economic impact of prolonged border restrictions.
New Zealand is one of 60 countries joining the summit with the goal of raising more than NZ$11.7 billion (approximately £6b) for the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, an organisation providing immunisation support for 68 of the world's poorest countries.
New Zealand will be contributing $37 million to the World Health Organisation's Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, of which $7 million will go to the Gavi Vaccine Alliance.
As Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will say in her video at the summit, the world needs a vaccine to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and it must be available to everyone.
The principle of equity, and making vaccines available to everyone, is at its heart of Gavi's mission. Since it was founded in 2000, Gavi has vaccinated more than 760 million children, saving 13 million lives and protecting a generation against some of the world's deadliest diseases, such as polio, diphtheria and measles.
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With a commitment to vaccinate a further 300 million children by 2025, Gavi funding will help save a further 8 million lives, it will help protect the healthcare systems of the most world's most vulnerable countries, and it will help ensure our global recovery from Covid-19.
The UK continues its own fight against Covid-19, as I know only too well from my friends back at home who work tirelessly in the NHS. But despite the challenges at home, the UK is also hugely committed to providing global leadership at this time of crisis.
The UK is hosting this summit, but also practising what it preaches: we are the single biggest donor to the international effort to find a Covid-19 vaccine, contributing more than $3.2 billion over the next five years.
No country and no individual is unaffected by Covid and its impacts, and we need to work together, at speed, to develop a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, and to protect the health and health systems of the most vulnerable. He waka eke noa.
• Laura Clarke is the British High Commissioner to New Zealand, and Governor of the Pitcairn Islands.