Covid-19 is a global pandemic. It can only be addressed on a global level. As long as the populations of some countries remain unvaccinated, the virus will continue to circulate around the world and new variants will emerge that run the risk of evading immunity acquired whether through inoculation or previous infections. Omicron is one such example. While we welcome the recent UK Government pledge of $750m to the Covax programme, there is much more that can and should be done.
We call for the following as a matter of urgency:
- That the UK drops its opposition to vaccine patent waivers
- That the UK provides technology and expertise transfer to support and establish manufacturing hubs for Covid vaccines in all regions of the world as soon as possible
- That, in the short term, as local manufacturing ramps up, the UK meets its pledges to donate vaccines to COVAX as well as funds (the global vaccination scheme)
- That the vaccines provided are suitable for use in their intended destinations (timely and pre-planned deliveries to ensure sufficiently long shelf life given storage requirements).