UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and President Joko Widodo at a bilateral meeting in Jakarta on April 7, 2021. (Photo Courtesy of the UK Embassy)

Like-Minded UK, Indonesia Call for Vaccine Equity

BY :JAKARTA GLOBE

APRIL 08, 2021

Jakarta. Indonesia and the United Kingdom agreed that global equitable access to the Covid-19 vaccine is critical to ending the pandemic and pledge bilateral cooperation as part of efforts to ensure everyone in the world would get the vaccine in time.

The UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab met with Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin to discuss several pandemic-related issues in a recent bilateral meeting in Jakarta on Wednesday. Both countries are like-minded in calling for vaccine equity.

The call came weeks after India, one of the world's largest vaccine manufacturers, blocked the Covid-19 vaccine exports to boost domestic supplies. Europe allegedly delayed vaccine shipment to fulfill demand in the region. 

The UK is one of the largest donors to the global vaccine sharing scheme, Covax. Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi also co-chairs the Covax Advanced Market Commitment Engagement Group (Covax-AMC EG).

“Defeating the pandemic is a global endeavor requiring innovation, partnership, and determination - and the UK is playing a leading role," Raab said in a statement.

According to Raab, the UK has pledged an aid worth £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) to end the pandemic, including £829 million for the development and distribution of new vaccines, treatments, and tests.

 "That includes a £548 million donation to the Covax initiative, which is now distributing life-saving vaccines in Indonesia to those who most need them, including healthcare workers, the elderly, and ordinary citizens," Raab said.

Likewise, Budi also called for cooperation to curb the pandemic.

“The pandemic could not be ended by one country acting alone. It needs good and strong collaboration from all countries. Vaccination is one of the ways to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic," Budi said.

Also, the meeting discussed bilateral health cooperation. UK eyes to support Indonesia's genomic sequencing capabilities through training and IT, especially with the already established link between the Eijkman Institute and Oxford University. An MoU signed last year has also increased the cooperation between UK and Indonesia on telemedicine.

The Covax will help procure vaccines for 92 eligible economies, including Indonesia. Last month, Indonesia received 1.1 million doses of vaccine produced by UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca via this facility. 

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