'Sharing vaccines is in our self-interest as nobody is safe until everybody is'

As Gordon Brown writes today, Britain has failed to fulfil a pledge to distribute vaccines to poor countries – but with a global pandemic nobody is safe until everybody is safe

A hospital worker (L) and patient (R) with COVID-19 is seen in in the Resuscitation room of the COVID-19 ward at Khayelitsha Hospital, about 35km from the centre of Cape Town, on December 29, 2020
Leading nations have so far failed to fulfil their pledges to distribute vaccines to poor countries

Next week US president Joe Biden will convene a global vaccines summit.

At stake are the lives of millions of people and the world’s ability to contain the spread of coronavirus.

As Gordon Brown writes in today’s paper, Britain and other leading nations have so far failed to fulfil their pledges to distribute vaccines to poor countries.

Despite a promise to hand over 870million doses to Africa and low-income states, only 100million have been donated.

This would be understandable if there were a shortage of medicines but it makes no sense when we have large stockpiles of surplus stock.

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Without urgent action we face an additional one to two million global deaths from Covid.

Distributing vaccines is not only the morally right thing to do. It is also in our self-interest.

With a global pandemic nobody is safe until everybody is safe.

Culture low

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was once dismissed as the ministry for fun.

But it is an important portfolio that covers topics from online safety to racism in sport.

By appointing Nadine Dorries to run the department Boris Johnson shows he does not take such issues seriously.

It is not her turn on I’m a Celebrity that counts against her. It is the fact that until now her only interest in the brief has been to score cheap political points and make offensive comments about race, media and gay rights.

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Nor does it fill you with confidence that the minister in charge of cyber security bragged about sharing her passwords with office staff.

The job should have gone to a person keen on culture, not a keyboard cultural warrior.


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