There are only two manufacturers of the polio vaccine
The UK has pledged to provide support for the vaccination of 400 million children worldwide annually.

THE UK government has pledged £400 million to help vaccinate more than 400 million children a year against polio.

International development secretary Alok Sharma said the new package will go towards the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

This funding will run from 2020 to 2023 and ait will help buy tens of millions doses of polio vaccine every year, enough to vaccinate more than 750 children a minute.

This new pledge brings UK support to end polio to up to £1.7 billion since 1995.

While polio was wiped out in the UK in the 1980s, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are still not officially wild polio free.

Sharma said: “We have made tremendous progress to fight this debilitating disease, but our work must continue if we are to eradicate it for ever.

“That’s why I am today committing fresh support to help immunise 400 million children a year around the world.

“If we were to pull back on immunisations, we could see 200,000 new cases each year in a decade. This would not only be a tragedy for the children affected and their families, but also for the world. We cannot let this happen.”

Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, praised the UK for leading the way in the fight to eradicate polio.

“I’m excited to see the UK leading the way on this front. Their generosity will make a huge difference in eradicating this disease once and for all,” he said.