British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech to the virtual Global Vaccine Summit at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, on June 4, 2020. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened the Global Vaccine Summit virtually on Thursday, urging countries and organizations to pledge funding for vaccinations to save millions of lives in the poorest countries and protect the world from future outbreaks of infectious diseases. (Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street/Handout via Xinhua)
LONDON/BRUSSELS, June 4 (Xinhua) -- The Global Vaccine Summit hosted by Britain virtually on Thursday drew pledges of 8.8 billion U.S. dollars, far more than its target of 7.4 billion dollars, showing "historic commitments" made by world leaders to provide equal access to vaccines for all.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened the Global Vaccine Summit virtually, urging countries and organizations to pledge funding for vaccinations to save millions of lives in the poorest countries and protect the world from future outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Addressing attendees from over 50 countries and organizations, Johnson said in his opening speech that the summit is a moment "when the world comes together to unite humanity in the fight against the disease."
"I urge you to join us to fortify this lifesaving alliance and inaugurate a new era of global health cooperation, which I believe is now the most essential shared endeavor of our lifetimes," he added.
With a target of 7.4 billion dollars for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the summit raised 8.8 billion dollars from 32 donor governments and 12 foundations, corporations and organizations, said Gavi, noting that world leaders has made "historic commitments."
Britain pledged 1.65 billion pounds (about 2.07 billion dollars) to Gavi over the next five years, according to Johnson.
While Britain remains Gavi's largest donor, other top donors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and European countries such as Norway and Germany. Eight countries made their first ever pledge to Gavi, including Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Finland, Greece, New Zealand, Portugal and Uganda, according to Gavi.
China also pledged support to relevant international organizations, including Gavi, within its capacity and make contributions to vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.
In specific, the summit is expected to raise money to immunize a further 300 million children in world's poorest countries by 2025, protecting them from deadly diseases like polio, diphtheria and measles, and also helping ensure the global recovery from COVID-19 pandemic.
As the world focuses on tackling novel coronavirus, the World Health O