Health, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

UK should donate 20% of vaccines to world: UNICEF

UK should set example for other countries by sharing jabs, says UN agency

Muhammad Mussa   | 12.05.2021
UK should donate 20% of vaccines to world: UNICEF

LONDON

UNICEF UK has urged the British government to donate at least 20% of its vaccines to countries in urgent need by mid-summer to prevent further spread of variants.

The UN agency argued that the UK will have enough jabs to fully inoculate every adult in the country by the end of this July and with the spare doses left in its arsenal it will also be able to fully vaccinate a further 50 million people worldwide.

“UNICEF UK is calling on the UK Government to lead by example by committing to sharing 20% of its vaccine supply with COVAX from June and urging other nations to match this,” it said in a statement, referring to a program to get COVID-19 vaccines to less-developed countries.

“The UK has secured 1 in every 25 vaccines forecast to be supplied in 2021, while accounting for under 1% of the world’s population, and is therefore expected to have 347 million doses available by the end of 2021 if all vaccines are approved,” it added.

Joanna Rea, UK director of advocacy for the agency, made the plea a month before the G7 leaders’ summit set to be held in the UK, which will see leaders of major world economies meet to discuss pertinent issues including coronavirus and ways to stem its spread.

Rea argued that the government needs to urgently share available doses to ensure other populations are protected from the virus and its variants. It also needs to donate a significant percentage of its jabs to prevent another deadly wave of mutations that could see the UK’s successful vaccine program undone.

“The UK has done a fantastic job in rolling out Covid-19 vaccines to more than half of its adult population and we should all be proud of what has been achieved. However, we can’t ignore that the UK and other G7 countries have purchased over a third of the world’s vaccine supply, despite making up only 13% of the global population – and we risk leaving low-income countries behind,” Rea said.

“Unless the UK urgently starts sharing its available doses to ensure others around the world are protected from the virus, the UK will not be safe from Covid-19. Our vaccine rollout success could be reversed and the NHS could be fighting another wave of the virus due to deadly mutations,” she added.

On Wednesday 2,284 people had a confirmed positive test of the virus, bringing this week’s total to 16,035 – up 13.4% from the last seven days.

Over 35 million people were administered their first dose of the vaccine by the end of May 11, with over 18 million people now having received the second.

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