S'pore to contribute $20.5m to support efforts by global coalition against future pandemics

The move is to support the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, set up to develop vaccines against future infectious disease threats. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Singapore will be contributing US$15 million (S$20.46 million) over the next five years to a global coalition set up to develop vaccines against future infectious disease threats.

The move is to support the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi), which plays an indispensable role in the global health architecture, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a pre-recorded speech on Wednesday (March 9).

"Transnational issues such as research and development, and scaling up manufacturing and distribution capabilities and capacity for vaccines require increased collective financing and action," he said.

The minister's speech was telecast at the Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit 2022, which was jointly hosted in London by Cepi and the British government.

The summit aims to explore how the world can respond to the next pandemic by developing safe and effective vaccines within 100 days.

This goal is part of what Cepi is seeking to achieve with its five-year plan, which it announced last year, and is looking to raise US$3.5 billion to implement.

In his speech, Mr Ong said countries around the world are doing their best to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, including closures of borders, lockdowns and nationwide vaccination exercises, as well as unprecedented rapid development of vaccines and therapeutics.

"Meanwhile, trillions have been spent to prop up local economies and healthcare systems, even as the costs in human lives and ill health accumulate," he added.

He noted that the future development of the pandemic remains uncertain, but said a coordinated, multilateral international response is needed.

"We can never coordinate our actions as fast as a new variant will spread; but try we must," said the minister.

"It is therefore only good sound sense to invest sufficiently and collectively in global transnational pandemic preparedness capabilities. We must not let the common good deteriorate to become a tragedy of the commons."

He said all countries, whether large or small, are responsible for collectively rectifying the longstanding under-investment in pandemic preparedness.

"We strongly urge all countries to contribute towards our common goal of a strengthened global health system, and emerge stronger together from the pandemic," added Mr Ong.

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