UK and other wealthy countries should help pay for global vaccination, Gordon Brown says
The G7 nations should commit £22 billion a year to help push for a global vaccination, former prime minister Gordon Brown said.
Mr Brown has called for the mass vaccination of the world to be the primary focus of the G7 summit, which starts on June 11 in Cornwall.
US president Joe Biden is expected to attend the event and join other G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the EU.
What Gordon Brown said
Writing in The Guardian, Mr Brown says the G7 nations must spearhead a "Herculean mobilisation" of pharmaceutical companies, national militaries and health workers to reach the "greatest number of people in the shortest time across the widest geography."
He writes: "As things stand, affluent countries accounting for 18% of the world's population have bought 4.6 billion doses - 60% of confirmed orders. About 780 million vaccines have been administered to date, but less than 1% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa have been injected.
"Immunising the West but only a fraction of the developing world is already fuelling allegations of 'vaccine apartheid', and will leave Covid-19 spreading, mutating and threatening the lives and livelihoods of us all for years to come."
‘We need to spend now to save lives’
Vaccines are currently shared internationally under the World Health Organisation-backed Covax programme, which is working to provide vaccines for low and middle-income countries.
However, Mr Brown said the issue is not a shortage in the number of vaccines, but the "shortage of money to pay for them", adding the funds needed to end the global crisis "are a fraction of the trillions Covid is costing us".
He said: "We need to spend now to save lives, and we need to spend tomorrow to carry on vaccinating each year until the disease no longer claims lives. And this will require at least 30 billion dollars (£22 billion) a year, a bill no one so far seems willing to fully underwrite."
‘It is in our self interest’
Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the Government, told Sky News: "Wherever there is disease, we know there is a risk - it is in our self-interest to get vaccination occurring around the world.
"Wherever it occurs in the world, whatever we do, it will arrive here.
"The notion, put forward by Gordon Brown, that the G7 ought to be supporting international vaccination is really top rate. We must support that."