UK commitment to donate Covid vaccine doses at G7

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus has warned that the UK government’s pledge to donate 100 million Covid vaccine doses, including just five million doses by the end of September, risks coming too late to save the many lives at risk from the virus right now in low and middle income countries.

A recent cross-party letter to the Prime Minister from 116 MPs and peers, coordinated by the APPG on Coronavirus, called on the UK to donate one dose of the vaccine to the Covax scheme for every dose imported into the UK. It comes after Professor Andrew Pollard, who helped develop the AstraZeneca vaccine, warned "many millions could die between now and September" unless vaccine doses were urgently provided to lower and middle-income countries via Covax.

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

“This is an important step forward, but it does not reflect the moral urgency of the situation we face.

“There is an urgent need to get jabs in arms now, to save millions of lives around the world and prevent the emergence of even deadlier and more transmissible variants.

“The UK government must immediately commit to donating one vaccine dose to Covax for each one imported into the UK. Unless a continued and steady supply of vaccines is provided to those countries who desperately need them, a vital opportunity to keep this global pandemic under control will be missed.”

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

“We are pleased the Prime Minister has listened to calls from health experts, charities and MPs on the urgent need to vaccinate the world.

“Time is now of the essence. Every week we wait to act will mean more lives are tragically lost, and more opportunities are created for the virus to mutate.

“It would be morally unacceptable for wealthy countries like the UK to vaccinate ever younger age groups, while ignoring the vulnerable people and healthcare workers in the world’s poorest nations who remain largely unvaccinated.”

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.