As early as March 2020 world leaders were discussing the importance of developing a vaccine for Covid-19. At a G20 summit they declared: ‘All new vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for the coronavirus need to be globally available, appropriate, and affordable.’
Almost a year later, those statements have not borne the fruit they promised. Richer nations have been able to choose how quickly to begin vaccination, whereas many low-income countries will have to wait for over a year before they will have any chance of starting.
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, pledged at the G7 conference this week to donate surplus vaccine supplies to low-income countries.
More than 400 million vaccine doses have been ordered by the UK government, meaning many will be left over after all adults are vaccinated.
But this pledge, while very welcome, doesn't go far enough and isn’t going to solve the problem alone.
There needs to be more vaccines produced and available everywhere, to everyone. The UK also needs to urge pharmaceutical companies to share the technology, knowhow and intellectual property that goes into creating the vaccines.