The UK is expected to pledge to donate 20% of its vaccines to other urgently needed countries as early as June, according to Unicef, which says the UK will still have enough to vaccinate every adult d ‘by the end of July.
The children’s charity estimates the UK will have enough spare doses this year to fully immunize 50 million more people worldwide, and urges the government to set an example in the G7 by starting to share them the next month. Vaccinating populations in other countries is the only way to ensure that new variants of the coronavirus do not spread, he says.
Unicef launched its appeal ahead of the G7 summit in the UK next month and, as France announced it would donate up to 5% of its vaccine stocks to Covax, the initiative supported by the UN to provide vaccines to low income countries.
The French president called on Europe and the United States to do the same. “We are not talking about billions of doses immediately, or billions and billions of euros,” Emmanuel Macron told the Financial Times. “The idea is to allocate 4 to 5% of the doses available to us much more quickly.
“It won’t change our vaccination campaigns, but every country should set aside a small number of doses they have and transfer tens of millions, but very quickly, for people on the ground to see it happening.”
Joe Biden has pledged to share surplus vaccine stocks with developing countries and pledged to send the 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine he holds, which has yet to be approved in the United States. .
UNICEF said the UK should lead by example and called on other G7 countries to donate 20% of their vaccine stocks to Covax as well.
“The UK has done a fantastic job rolling out Covid-19 vaccines to over half of its adult population and we should all be proud of what has been achieved. However, we cannot ignore that the UK and other G7 countries have purchased more than a third of the global vaccine supply, when they only represent 13% of the world’s population – and we risk leaving low-income countries behind, ”said Joanna Rea, Director of Advocacy at Unicef UK.
“Unless the UK urgently starts sharing its available doses to ensure others around the world are protected from the virus, the UK will not be safe from Covid-19. The success of our vaccine rollout could be reversed and the NHS could fight another wave of viruses due to deadly mutations. “
Vaccine production is limited. Bruce Aylward, senior advisor to the World Health Organization who is part of the Covax implementation team, echoed the call for richer countries to share a percentage of the doses they have.
“Where we are now is that 1.3 billion doses have been given to the arms of people around the world,” he told The Guardian. “But for the 20 to 30 poorest countries, the total is less than 5 million. There is no scenario where this is fair.
“There are a lot of vaccines in the world. We have healthcare workers and vulnerable people in the poorest parts of the world and we don’t need so many doses to have a huge impact. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of vulnerable people is 3 to 4% of the population. And an even lower percentage of healthcare workers.
“Looking at India and Brazil, all the arguments have been made. Right now we have a real-time window to avoid seeing this tragedy repeat itself elsewhere. “