Failure to introduce vaccines worldwide costs lives, warns Christian Aid


International humanitarian charity Christian Aid has warned the UK government to join the growing international consensus to forego vaccine patents and developing countries’ debts, or see more lives threatened by variants of COVID.

Jennifer Larbie, UK Advocacy and Policy Lead at Christian Aid, described the Omicron variant of COVID as a reminder that “failing to introduce vaccines around the world will cost lives” and urged the UK government to stand up before hosting global action to agree on a global approach G7 foreign ministers’ summit next weekend.

Despite reports, 82 countries will miss the internationally agreed adult vaccination target of 40% by December. The UK only delivered 11% of its promised vaccine doses to developing countries, and it did so this month 600,000 AZ vaccine doses discarded after expiry.

The intervention follows the inconclusive meeting of G7 health ministers held today to discuss the Omicron-COVID variant. The G7 ministers recognized the “strategic relevance of ensuring access to vaccines”, but no further commitments were made.

Jennifer Larbie, UK Advocacy and Policy Lead at Christian Aid said:

“Omicron’s COVID variant is the latest reminder that failure to introduce vaccines worldwide has cost lives.

“The best way to prevent vaccine-resistant variants of COVID-19 from occurring is to ensure universal access to vaccines in every country. However, a lack of leadership from Britain has created a world of “have jabs and have nots”.

“The world’s leaders have a duty to remove the barriers preventing the rapid adoption of vaccines in the global south. That means an urgent waiver of patents, which Britain has viciously opposed, and a comprehensive debt relief package.

“With the UK hosting the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting next week, the clock is ticking. The equitable distribution of vaccines around the world is not about charity; it is about justice and keeping promises. It’s about doing the right thing to protect every citizen in our global community. “


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