Send Covid vaccines to low-income countries now to save lives – Gordon Brown

The former prime minister said it could help prevent thousands of deaths.

Vaccine administered
Vaccine administered

Former prime minister Gordon Brown is calling on the UK, US, the EU and Canada to launch an emergency airlift of 240 million Covid jabs from unused stocks to the vaccine-starved countries of the global south.

He said the move could prevent many of the one million Covid-induced deaths projected over the next year.

Mr Brown said the military must mobilise aircraft and ground support for an “unparalleled distribution” of jabs to 92 low-income countries, where only 5% of the population have been vaccinated.

Gordon BRown
Gordon Brown said millions of vaccines could otherwise be wasted as they expire (PA)

An October airlift would be the first stage in a plan, drawn up by Mr Brown, for the transfer of 1.1 billion unused vaccines from the global north to the global south in the next few months.

Mr Brown is pressing US President Joe Biden, the EC’s Ursula von der Leyen, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau to hold an emergency summit as soon as possible to agree the airlift, which he said could then be under way within days.

The former PM said: “While vaccines have been pledged, we are not getting the vaccines into people’s arms quickly enough or on sufficient scale, and with vaccines stockpiled in the west we urgently need a timetable to prevent avoidable loss of lives.

Vaccine vials
Mr Brown said the move would be ‘the biggest peacetime public policy decision to prevent avoidable deaths’ (PA)

“An immediate emergency airlift of 240 million vaccines this month from the global north to the global south should be followed by the transfer of a further 760 million vaccines by February.

“If we do not use the stockpiled vaccines, many, perhaps 100 million, will go to waste when they pass their use by dates and expire.

“This initiative – the biggest peacetime public policy decision to prevent avoidable deaths – could save 100,000 lives and prevent many of the one million Covid-induced deaths projected over the next few months.”

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