The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus has warned that the UK government’s pledge to donate 100 million Covid vaccine doses, including just five million doses by the end of September, risks coming too late to save the many lives at risk from the virus right now in low- and middle-income countries.
A recent cross-party letter to the Prime Minister from 116 MPs and peers, has been coordinated by the APPG on Coronavirus. While the UK has committed funding to COVAX, we remain a net importer of Covid-19 vaccines. The letter called on the UK to donate one dose of the vaccine to the Covax scheme for every dose imported into the UK. It comes after Professor Andrew Pollard, who helped develop the AstraZeneca vaccine, warned ”many millions could die between now and September” unless vaccine doses were urgently provided to lower and middle-income countries via Covax.
Layla Moran, Chair of the APPG on Coronavirus
“This is an important step forward, but it does not reflect the moral urgency of the situation we face.
“There is an urgent need to get jabs in arms now, to save millions of lives around the world and prevent the emergence of even deadlier and more transmissible variants.
“The UK government must immediately commit to donating one vaccine dose to Covax for each one imported into the UK. Unless a continued and steady supply of vaccines is provided to those countries who desperately need them, a vital opportunity to keep this global pandemic under control will be missed.”
Dr Dan Poulter, Vice Chair of the APPG on Coronavirus
“We are pleased the Prime Minister has listened to calls from health experts, charities and MPs on the urgent need to vaccinate the world.
“Time is now of the essence. Every week we wait to act will mean more lives are tragically lost, and more opportunities are created for the virus to mutate.
“It would be morally unacceptable for wealthy countries like the UK to vaccinate ever younger age groups, while ignoring the vulnerable people and healthcare workers in the world’s poorest nations who remain largely unvaccinated.”
Risk in a gap in vaccination programmes
The cross-party letter from MPs and Peers lays out both the moral and rational case for UK commitment to vaccine donation to Covax; it will save lives and help to prevent the emergence of further Covid-19 variants internationally.
On 13 June the Prime Minister announced that the UK will donate 100 million doses to other countries in the coming year.
World population is expected to reach 8 billion in 2023. It has been estimated that, at the beginning of 2021 64.7% of world population is between the ages of 15 and 64; and that 7.5 is aged over 65 years.