politics

UK nabs first dibs on 27m Covid jabs which critics say should go to developing nations


Consumer minister Paul Scully revealed that although we have sourced enough doses to double-vaccinate the entire population three times over we have spent £71million to take even more from Covax

Members of the medical team draw up the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine at the Excelsior Academy, Newcastle Upon Tyne
The UK already has enough doses to double-vaccinate the population three times over

The UK has nabbed first dibs on 27 million doses of Covid vaccine which critics say should go to developing nations.

And we have already had 500,000 Pfizer jabs from Covax, the global organisation which boasts that it “bridges the vaccine divide regardless of wealth.”

Consumer minister Paul Scully revealed that although we have sourced enough doses to double-vaccinate the entire population three times over we have spent £71million to take even more from Covax.

He said: “This gives us the option to buy vaccines for up to 20% of the UK population.”

Yet he also admitted the UK has so far only donated 10 million doses “to those countries most in need.”

That has infuriated MPs who say the priority should be getting vaccine to poorer nations which do not have enough.

Shadow International Development Secretary Preet Kaur Gill said: “This is not only morally reprehensible but also leaves us all less safe.

“The Government needs to act now to donate excess vaccines and push the rest of the international community to do the same.”








The UK has only donated 10m doses to low-income countries
(

Image:

AFP via Getty Images)



And Lib Dem Layla Moran, chair of the all party Coronavirus Group, added: “It’s outrageous to learn they have taken vaccines earmarked for some of the poorest people in the world.

“The Government must make amends by implementing a one-in-one-out policy for international vaccine donation to stop new variants emerging and save lives abroad.”

She said that Britain should ensure the rest of the world is vaccinated before giving third booster jabs to healthy over-50s here.

Only two per cent of populations in the world’s poorest countries have received a first dose of vaccine and Britain has donated only six per cent of the vaccines promised.

Instead Boris Johnson boasts we have given money rather than vaccine – £548million to Covax to help pay for its worldwide programme.





Ms Moran added: “Vaccinating the world is the only way we can reduce the risk of future, more deadly variants entering the UK.”

The PM did a deal with Covax along with other rich countries to pool investments in exchange for early access to vaccines in case other deliveries did not work out.

Covax expects to be 500 million doses short of their target for poorer countries this year and has already cut supplies to Africa by 150 million.

And the 500,000 doses from Covax the UK received in June was more than double the amount sent that month to the entire African continent.

Yet even after booster shots and jabs for 12 – 15 year olds have been rolled out Britain will still have 200 million doses of the vaccine left over.

And their use-by dates are likely to expire before they can be sent anywhere else.

A Covax spokesperson said: “We leave it to individual governments to comment on their agreements with Covax.”


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