Vaccine: WHO’s Dr Nabarro calls for global rollout to be ‘fair’
The World Health Organisation’s special envoy on Covid Dr David Nabarro has said “the world should be accessing vaccines in an equal way”. He added that the UK having 400 million doses of vaccine on order was “totally understandable” but that once all over-50s in the UK have been inoculated it should consider sharing vaccines with poorer countries through the WHO’s Covax scheme.
He told Sophy Ridge on Sky News: “At the moment politicians believe that their primary duty is to make sure they get vaccines to perhaps everybody in their countries.
“We think citizens can perhaps talk to their politicians and say ‘wait a minute, we’re actually part of the world, we think the first priority is to make sure everybody in the world gets what they need’.”
He said 100 countries have signed up to the WHO’s vaccine-sharing Covax scheme, adding they are “ready to receive vaccines” and there is money available to buy doses.
He added: “Do we want to be remembered as a world where those who had the cash could afford to vaccinate their whole populations and countries that didn’t have the cash had to cope with a possibly quite dramatically increasing death rate among their health workers? I don’t think so.”
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Dr Nabarro: “We have some excellent vaccines that can stop people from dying.
“The only way to deal with a global pandemic is to get fair shares across the world now, that’s the right thing to do.
“I’m really hopeful that world leaders in the coming weeks will realise that to have a few countries vaccinating a lot of people and poorer countries have very limited vaccines is not really the way to go ahead economically, socially, environmentally and indeed morally.”
The Sinn Fein president has said also share the UK should share any spare coronavirus vaccinations with Ireland.
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Mary Lou McDonald said a spirit of “generosity and solidarity” on vaccine sharing should extend globally.
She was asked on Sky News if she would like to see excess UK doses being diverted to the Irish Republic, given the slower pace of vaccine rollout in the EU.
“Certainly if there is an excess of supply in Britain and if there is a capacity for that to be shared with Ireland at some point, well, yes, of course, absolutely, the project here is to get people vaccinated,” she replied.
“This is a race against this virus and against death so, yes, I think a spirit of fairness and generosity needs to prevail in this, my goodness, above all other issues.
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“So, yes, is the answer, and if the scenario were vice versa I would expect that a similar generosity would be afforded to the British people because the virus doesn’t care about politics or borders or any of these things.”
“We all share the same human biology and it’s just so important that the incredible work that has been done by scientists internationally, including at Oxford University, and across the globe, that the fruits of that endeavour and knowledge and expertise is shared in the way that good science would intend, and that means keeping all of our fellow human citizens safe and alive and well.”
The first batch of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in Ireland on Saturday.
The 21,600 jabs, which were transported from Belgium, will be given to healthcare workers from Monday.
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