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Boris Johnson is pledging to donate UK’s surplus vaccine supply to ‘poorer countries’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pledging to donate most of the UK’s surplus vaccine supply to poorer countries it has been revealed.

He has asked ‘rich countries’ to back a 100-day target for developing new vaccines for future emerging diseases the BBC reports. 

He said this during speech to a virtual G7 meeting on Friday 19 Feb last week.

Since the start of the covid-19 pandemic a year ago this month, the UK has ordered more than 400 million doses of various vaccines.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from WHO said that it was “in the interest” of rich countries as well as poor countries to have “equitable access” to coronavirus vaccines. 

She told BBC radio 4: “I don’t think we should wait to get surplus when other people have been served.

“I think that any donations that are coming must come now.

“The reason is very simple. It’s in the interest of rich countries as well as poor countries to have equitable access.”

With the amount of vaccines ordered here in the UK, many will be left over even once all adults are vaccinated in the programme.

Decisions on when and how much of the surplus vaccines will be distributed to other poorer countries will be made later this year.

ONE, a group that campaigns against poverty said about the surplus: This huge vaccine excess is the embodiment of vaccine nationalism, with countries prioritising their own vaccination needs at the expense of other countries and the global recovery,” 

ONE’s policy team added “a massive course correction” in distribution of the vaccine was needed if the world wanted to save the lives of people around the globe.

It has been reported that ministers will be taking into account the supply chain and whether booster shots are needed in the autumn which by could be a big factor in the discussion making.

Dr David Nabarro, the World Health Organisation‘s special envoy on Covid-19, said the UK having 400 million ordered is “totally understandable”

However we should consider sharing vaccines with poorer countries.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock lcommitted to be “generous around the world” with the vaccine supply a couple of weeks ago in recognition of the fact that the UK has so many.

Boris Johnson told his fellow leaders: “Science is finally getting the upper hand on Covid.

“Around the world make sure everyone gets the vaccines that they need, so that the whole world can come through this pandemic together.”

“There is no point in us vaccinating our individual populations – we’ve got to make sure the whole world is vaccinated because this is a global pandemic and it’s no use one country being far ahead of another, we’ve got to move together.”

He said he wanted to “ensure that we distribute vaccines at cost around the world – make sure everybody gets the vaccines that they need so that the whole world can come through this pandemic together.”

When the meeting ended, G7 Leaders said they will “intensify cooperation on the health response to Covid-19”.

They advised that: “affordable and equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, reflecting the role of extensive immunisation as a global public good.”

Meanwhile in the UK it looks set that may ALL schools may reopen again on 8 March, we will find out for sure tomorrow (22 Feb).

Prof John Edmunds confirmed that there is doubt among some members of Sage if this is a wise decision.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, he said: “I think if we open schools now, the reproduction number is likely to go to something close to one, potentially slightly above.”

He added: “We’re all at risk. And we can all spread the virus, and so until we’ve all been vaccinated, and I include children here, then there is going to be significant risk of a resurgence.”

He also said: “It’s certainly a risk if we allow higher rates of infection in certain parts of the communities – younger individuals – then we do run the risk of further mutations occurring which could reduce the effectiveness of the vaccination programme.”

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