On June 4, the UK will host the Global Vaccine Summit, bringing together countries and organisations to follow the UK’s lead in investing in the work of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The UK has so far provided £744 million in UK aid for the global response to coronavirus – and as part of this, Mr Johnson on Monday pledged £388 million in UK aid funding for research into vaccines, tests and treatments.
The United States, Russia and China have all declined to contribute.
The announcement came at the Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference, co-organised by the UK and eight other countries and organisations including the European Union, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen saying: “Wow. Thank you, Boris Johnson, for your generosity.”
However vastly less impressed were respondents to the online poll, which ran from 11.20am to 9pm today, which attracted 2,151 votes.
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Of these, 1,815 – 84.4 percent – answered no to the question: “Was Boris Johnson right to pledge £744m to the EU’s fight against COVID-19?”
Just 308 – 14.3 percent – said yes, while a further 28 – 1.3 percent were undecided.
One reader commented: “A big NO as up to now nobody gives a damn or given any money to help the UK or any money should have been given to our own people to find a vaccine.
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Another reader contrasted the decision with the efforts of one of the pandemic’s biggest heroes.
They said: “After the heroic efforts of Captain Tom to raise £30m for the NHS Boris decides to give away £747m to the EU! It’s worse than wrong – it’s a disgrace.”
One reader wanted to know what the UK got in return, asking: “We give vast sums to the UN, WHO, EU in Foreign Aid but who gives us anything?”
Other wondered what the money would be used for.
One said: “I doubt if the money will be used for it’s intended purpose, it will disappear into the pit of debt that the EU have.
“Boris should never have given this money away, we need every penny here at home.
Another added: “It looks as if Boris has just given a blood transfusion to the moribund EU.
“Is he really naive enough to believe that any such HUGE fund given over to the EU to manage will ALL eventually end up where it was supposed to do the most good?
“What was wrong with donating this money to our own British scientists and sharing our results with the rest of the world?
“If it’s money that is going to find us a cure or vaccine, it should be money in THIS country!”