Question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to deliver 600,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to the government of Sri Lanka, to enable the availability of second doses amongst the population of that country. (HL1085)
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK government is concerned about the Covid-19 situation in Sri Lanka. The Minister for South Asia Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon discussed this with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner on 10 May and with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on 17 June.
The UK has consistently stressed that we are all facing the same pandemic and the threat of further waves and variants of the virus makes cooperation between all our partners and the UK ever more vital and important.
The UK remains committed to equitable access to safe and effective vaccines. As the multilateral mechanism set up to support international co-operation on vaccines, COVAX remains best-placed to allocate vaccines fairly and to where they will be most effective. The UK was one of the earliest and largest donors to COVAX donating £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment. Our early funding gave COVAX the purchase power it needed to secure deals with manufacturers to supply internationally-approved vaccines for up to 92 low and middle income countries. So far, COVAX has helped deliver over 81m doses to 129 countries and territories, including Sri Lanka.
The Prime Minister announced on 11 June that the UK will donate 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines within the next year, with 30 million of those donated by the end of 2021. 80% of the vaccines donated will go to COVAX. This was part of an agreement with G7 partners to donate 1 billion doses by June 2022. We will set out more detail in due course and will continue to discuss with G7 partners the ambition to end the pandemic.