Earlier this week, the Chair of the APPG Vaccinations for All and over 40 UK parliamentarians wrote to the Secretary of State and Minister of State at the Department for International Development in order to show support for a UK pledge to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Full text of letter:

We are writing to you to express our support for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and to encourage the UK Government to continue its contribution to polio eradication at their upcoming pledging moment in November.

Polio is a terrible virus which causes paralysis and death and, as there is no cure, the only way to beat it is through successful vaccination. If the world is successful in its mission, this will be the second disease to be eradicated from the planet, after smallpox. Eradicating the final cases of wild polio from the world is not a simple task but the GPEI has successfully reduced cases of polio by 99.9% since it was formed in 1988. GPEI has reduced the number of wild polio cases from 350,000 each year, in 125 countries, to just 33 cases across two countries; Afghanistan and Pakistan. Saving over 18 million people from paralysis or death has involved 20 million volunteers immunising 2.5 billion children with the oral vaccine in 200 countries.

The UK has been a leader in this fight and, thanks to UK aid, 1.6 million people are walking who could have been left paralysed. However, many of the most vulnerable children, particularly in war-torn or fragile countries, continue to face the risk of paralysis due to polio. Ensuring every last case of the wild polio virus is eradicated is essential, as whilst one child is infected with wild polio, children everywhere remain at risk. The GPEI’s strategy, for 2019-2023, sets out a clear plan to address the challenges that remain in achieving polio eradication. Due to the provision of gut immunity, which prevents person to person transmission, their oral vaccination programme is the only mechanism by which to achieve the eradication of wild polio once and for all.

As well as helping fulfil the UK’s ‘Leave No One Behind’ commitment and, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, eradication will save up to US$50 billion globally by averting treatment costs and increasing the economic activity, success and productivity of low- and middle-income countries. We applaud the UK Government’s early commitment of £1.4 billion to the Global Fund to fight TB, AIDS and Malaria. However, we, the members of the APPG on Vaccinations for All, support calls from Rotarians and campaigners across civil society for the UK to pledge £400 million to the GPEI to deliver on its new strategy and ensure no child is left behind.

The eradication of polio is close but the final few stages will be the hardest. It is imperative that the UK continues to lead from the front on this critical global issue and helps deliver a polio-free world.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Philippa Whitford MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vaccinations for All


  1. Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP
  2. Gillian Keegan MP
  3. Stephen Twigg MP
  4. Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP
  5. Bambos Charalambous MP
  6. Baroness Sheehan
  7. Jeremy Lefroy MP
  8. Lord Bird
  9. Lord Collins of Highbury
  10. Christian Matheson MP
  11. Sarah Champion MP
  12. Nigel Evans MP
  13. Rt Hon Baroness Blackstone
  14. Maggie Throup MP
  15. Lord Oates
  16. Dr Lisa Cameron MP
  17. Alex Chalk MP
  18. Baroness Masham of Ilton
  19. Nic Dakin MP
  20. Stephen Gethins MP
  21. Lady Hermon MP
  22. Helen Hayes MP
  23. Ruth Jones MP
  24. Kate Osamor MP
  25. Kelvin Hopkins MP
  26. Bill Grant MP
  27. Jim Fitzpatrick MP
  28. Lord Rennard
  29. Virendra Sharma MP
  30. Tom Brake MP
  31. Rt Hon Baroness Hayman
  32. Jim Shannon MP
  33. Ian Austin MP
  34. Jessica Morden MP
  35. Caroline Lucas MP
  36. Paul Farrelly MP
  37. Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP
  38. Chris Green MP
  39. David Linden MP
  40. Mike Gapes MP