MPs on the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus urged the government to prioritise donating vaccines through the COVAX scheme, rather than giving booster jabs to healthy over-50s
Image: JAGADEESH NV/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Ministers have been urged to send Covid-19 vaccines to poor countries before giving a third jab to healthy over-50s in the UK.
MPs on the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus urged the government to prioritise donating vaccines through the COVAX scheme, rather than giving booster jabs to healthy Brits.
According to the group, figures show only 1.9% of people in low income countries have had a single dose of vaccine.
Meanwhile, the UK has 442 million doses on order, enough to fully vaccinate the UK population three times over – including those currently ineligible for the jab.
The group want the Government to commit to donating one dose for every dose ordered and administered in the UK.
Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group said: “While the UK vaccination programme has been brilliantly executed by the NHS, the hard truth is that globally, there aren’t enough doses in people’s arms.
“COVAX is the right vehicle to address this and it is essential that vaccines are made available across the world to ensure a sustainable recovery from this pandemic.”
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, who chairs the committee, added: “While it is right that we offer boosters to the vulnerable and immune-suppressed, vaccinating the world is the only way we can reduce the risk of future, more deadly variants entering the UK.
“It is reckless for this Government to stand idly by and allow for the disgraceful medical divide that the world witnessed during the HIV/AIDS crisis to repeat itself with Covid-19.
“For this reason alone, work to share doses with other countries must be organised into a formal one-in-one-out system and not carried out in the piecemeal way it has been so far.”
In June the Government promised to donate 100 million surplus doses of the vaccine through COVAX over the next year.
Making the pledge, Boris Johnson said: “As a result of the success of the UK’s vaccine programme we are now in a position to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them.
“In doing so we will take a massive step towards beating this pandemic for good.”