Gordon Brown: Covid vaccine inequality across world is getting worse


11 February 2022

Vaccine inequality is getting worse as people become complacent about Covid, former prime minister Gordon Brown has warned.

He repeated his call for governments to share the burden of funding vaccines, treatments, testing and PPE equipment around the world.

He told an Oxfam podcast it was “short-sighted to take such a narrow view of national self-interest” for rich countries to vaccinate only their own citizens.

This would prolong a “mutating crisis” that could cost them trillions of pounds in loss of trade, economic activities, companies going bust and jobs, he warned.

“This will bite back even those countries that have a big vaccination programme,” he said, criticising the fact that vaccination rates in rich countries currently stand at 75% against 11% across Africa.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown said vaccine inequity across the world is ‘getting worse’ (PA)

“We need a vaccine patent waiver and technology transfer. What’s happened in Africa is as bad as what happened under colonial rule.

“Africa has been deprived of vaccines but also of the ability to manufacture its own vaccines because it does not have the patents to do so.”

Mr Brown added that the most urgent and immediate priority in tackling Covid, and getting more vaccines to people especially in developing countries, was money.

“People are dying now because we can’t get enough vaccines and equipment and therapeutics to them quickly enough. We have to solve the problem now, and that requires proper funding.

“People have become complacent about Covid. Our global health funds are fast running out of money. Vaccine inequity is getting worse.”

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