The former PM said the West has “got to take action immediately to use these unused vaccines to save lives”
Failing to send hundreds of millions of unused coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries would be an act of “criminal” neglect, Gordon Brown has claimed.
The former Prime Minister piled pressure on western nations to export surplus doses, as he blasted a “lack of coordination” in helping other countries inoculate populations against Covid-19.
A report due out tomorrow suggests about 240 million vaccines are sitting in Europe and the US which are unlikely to be used for months, he revealed.
Mr Brown said the West has “got to take action immediately to use these unused vaccines to save lives”.
“Many of them may go to waste – and that would be criminal – which could immediately be airlifted out to those countries where the level of vaccination is so low that not even the nurses and doctors are protected – and certainly not the elderly and vulnerable,” the ex-Labour leader told Sky News.
” Boris Johnson promised at the G7 that he was going to vaccinate the whole world.
“He made this bold announcement that, by next year, everybody would be vaccinated who was an adult in the developing world as well as the developed world.
“But since then, so little has happened that we now face the possibility of every target being missed.”
Experts have warned that leaving developing countries with far lower rates of vaccination than richer nations risked creating the conditions for mutant coronavirus strains – which could undermine the effectiveness of jabs.
Challenged about his suggestion of criminality, Mr Brown said: “I was talking about neglect.
“I do think that this is a lack of co-ordination.
“If (US) President Biden, Boris Johnson, Ursula von der Leyen – the president of the European Union – (Canadian PM) Justin Trudeau came together, they would find that they had these unused vaccines that are not going to be used.
“Even after all the boosters, there are excess vaccines that are not going to be used and they should get them out as quickly as possible.”
He also suggested that Mr Johnson had missed a meeting, hosted by Mr Biden, to discuss getting vaccines sent to developing countries and said the PM should answer to the House of Commons about what role he played in that summit.
A Downing Street source has said that the Prime Minister did miss his speaking slot, but said it was because the meeting was running late and he was due to attend a wreath-laying event at Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC.