PM must make “concrete commitment” to donate Covid vaccine doses ahead of G7 summit

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus has warned that Boris Johnson’s pledge to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022 would be “too little too late,” and urged the Prime Minister to make a “concrete commitment” to donate Covid vaccine doses to lower and middle-income countries ahead of next week’s G7 summit.

It comes after a cross-party letter to the Prime Minister from 116 MPs and peers, coordinated by the APPG on Coronavirus, said the UK has a “moral duty” to help close the global vaccine divide. The letter called on the UK to donate one dose of the vaccine to the Covax scheme for every dose imported into the UK.

Layla Moran MP, Chair of the APPG on Coronavirus, said:

“The government has rightly recognised the importance of using the G7 summit to make progress in vaccinating the world.

“The Prime Minister must follow this up with a concrete commitment to donate vaccine doses now to low-income countries where they are so desperately needed.

“Simply pledging to vaccinate the world by the end of next year risks being too little too late. We need urgent action now to save millions of lives abroad and prevent the emergence of more Covid variants.”

Dr Dan Poulter MP, Vice Chair of the APPG on Coronavirus, said:

“It is a positive sign that the UK government is preparing to show global leadership on this critical issue.

“The government must seize this historic opportunity to close the global vaccine divide, by agreeing to donate one vaccine dose to Covax for each one imported into the UK.

“We simply cannot afford to ignore the humanitarian disaster unfolding in low-income countries, where the virus is surging and vulnerable people and healthcare workers remain largely unvaccinated.

“We will not be safe from new Covid variants at home long as the virus continues to rage overseas.”

ENDS

Press contact: Paul Haydon, [email protected], 07988395025

Notes to Editors

A cross-party group of over 100 MPs and peers wrote a letter to the Prime Minister last week warning the UK has a “moral duty” to help close the global vaccine divide. MPs from all four UK nations and nine political parties have co-signed the letter, including father of the house Peter Bottomley MP, former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Margaret Thatcher’s former health minister Baroness Hooper. The letter urged the government to immediately adopt a policy of “vaccine matching,” in which for each dose of the vaccine imported into the UK, one dose is donated to lower and middle-income nations via the Covax scheme. 

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus is conducting a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic and has so far held over 20 hearings and made over 40 recommendations. The APPG brings together 74 MPs and peers, representing all four nations and every Westminster party.  

The APPG held an evidence session on 18 May 2021 on global access to vaccines, with witnesses including Professor Andrew Pollard from the Oxford Vaccine Group, Professor Gavin Yamey of Duke University, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation. A video recording of the session can be viewed here and a transcript is available here.