The cabinet is happy to make this declaration concerning vaccination equality with Neil Gray, the Scottish Minister for International Development.

Since the first Covid-19 vaccine was given in the UK in December 2020, almost 139m doses have been given as part of the biggest immunization initiative in UK history. This success is huge.

Vaccination has avoided 7,000 deaths and 10,000 hospital stays in Wales. Thanks to our successful vaccination campaign, we can go beyond the emergency reaction to the pandemic and learn to live safely with coronavirus.

The epidemic isn’t done, and it’s unclear how the virus will evolve. Vaccines must be provided everywhere for the epidemic to terminate swiftly.

First and second dose vaccine rates are poor in many nations. As of 16 May 2022, only 13% of low-income nations have two Covid-19 dosages.

In Malawi, one of Scotland’s International Development Fund partners, just 5% of individuals have two doses. In Namibia, where the Welsh Government sponsors Cardiff University and the University of Namibia, the immunisation rate is 20%.

Today, the Scottish and Welsh governments stand in solidarity with our Global South allies to continue promoting fair access to Covid-19 vaccinations.

Without fair access, Covid-19 will continue to cause serious sickness and death in many nations. This will strain healthcare systems, hamper economic recovery, and expose the world’s most vulnerable people to poverty and starvation.

Without worldwide immunisation, SARS-CoV-2 may continue to evolve, traverse borders, and damage Covid-19 vaccines and therapies, including in the UK. Equal access to vaccinations is a moral and global health security need.

Bilateral contributions and financing to COVAX have been key to the worldwide pandemic response. The UK’s involvement in COVAX has helped other countries get Covid-19 vaccinations. We laud the government’s past and future contributions.

Globally, COVAX contributions are below original financing promises. Unpredictability and late dosage delivery have hindered administration planning in several recipient nations.

Donations are unlikely to maintain vaccination supply chains. It’s crucial to boost vaccine manufacturing capacity so nations may become self-sufficient.

On 12 May, the US, Belize, Germany, Indonesia, and Senegal co-hosted the Second Global Covid-19 summit to assess progress on addressing the pandemic and identify action needed to tackle Covid-19. The summit secured $3bn in new funding commitments, but this figure falls short of the estimated $31.1bn needed to end the pandemic. Meeting this enormous challenge will demand innovation and ambition.

As part of this approach, more than 100 nations have requested for the temporary suspension of international duties to preserve intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines. This interim waiver would enable underdeveloped nations to safely and effectively produce Covid-19 vaccines. Despite rising global support and a compromise solution from the EU, US, India, and South Africa, a small number of high-income nations, notably the UK, reject a waiver.

Our message relies on letters written by the first ministers of Scotland and Wales to the prime minister in December 2021 asking a temporary TRIPS concession.

Our governments support a short TRIPS waiver to diversify Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing. Ongoing WTO talks might lead to a complete TRIPS waiver at the June Ministerial Conference.

We encourage the UK government to withdraw its opposition to a waiver and embrace a global accord.

A TRIPS waiver might make life-saving vaccinations available to more countries and safeguard billions of people in vulnerable countries.

Logistics constraints may prevent vaccinations from reaching individuals in the Global South. Our two governments have committed more than £7m to support our partners with similar issues. This includes £4.2m from the Scottish Government for equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines and medicines in Zambia, Malawi, and Rwanda, and £3.2m from the Welsh Government for public education campaigns, handwashing, and increased oxygen availability in sub-Saharan African nations.

We ask the international community to maintain technical and logistical help so vaccinations may be given safely and fairly.

We encourage worldwide partners to provide fair access of Covid-19 vaccinations a priority in our pandemic response.

We’ll keep urging the UK to support the TRIPS waiver. We have a shared obligation to act immediately.

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