- Hoarding of excess doses would be ‘morally indefensible’
Christian Aid has welcomed the expected announcement by the Prime Minister today that the UK will donate at least 100 million surplus coronavirus vaccine doses within the next year, including 5 million beginning in the coming weeks.
Director of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns, Patrick Watt, said: “Boris Johnson’s decision that the UK will share some of its excess pre-orders is a welcome step on the road to tackling the vaccine apartheid which has so far seen less than 1% of the one billion doses going to the poorest countries. Hoarding while vulnerable groups in poorer nations remain unvaccinated is morally indefensible and will delay the end of the pandemic.
“However, we need much greater ambition if we’re to vaccinate the world. Best estimates are that a billion vaccines need to be given to poorer countries this year. And if we’re to significantly boost production and lower costs, the Prime Minister needs to join Presidents Biden and Macron in supporting a patent waiver.
“Increasingly, Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel are out of step with a growing international consensus that pooling of intellectual property and know how is needed, given the scale of the crisis.”
Notes to editors
- The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response stated that richer countries needed to provide low- and middle-income countries with at least one billion vaccine doses by September - https://www.scidev.net/global/news/rich-countries-must-give-1bn-vaccines-to-poor-covid-19-panel/
- Christian Aid also believes that excess vaccines should be donated via the WHO’s COVAX scheme, to ensure that they reach the countries most in need in a coordinated way
- It’s important that their supply is staggered in a way that doesn’t overwhelm fragile health systems in poorer countries, and with sufficient predictability that second doses can be guaranteed
- Vaccine sharing of excess pre-orders should be genuinely additional to the aid budget, which has already been cut by 6.7bn in the last year.
- The UK should actively support an increase in vaccine manufacturing in poorer countries, and in the health systems needed to ensure effective distribution of vaccines