Vaccines play a key role in getting the world back on track (Getty)
The restrictions will remain in place for another four years if the KOVID-19 vaccine is not distributed evenly around the world, a leading health expert has warned.
Dr Claire Wenham, associate professor of global health policy at the London School of Economics, said it was of paramount importance for all countries to stop the pandemic.
She told Sky News: Data now shows that it will take 2023/24 years to get vaccines to everyone in the world.
It’s a long time. And if we spend it now, maybe we can get back to normal faster.
added Dr Wenham: This pandemic will not stop until it is over worldwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on the UK to suspend its immunization program after vulnerable people receive the vaccines, to ensure equitable global distribution.
The UK currently has one of the highest vaccination rates, along with Israel and the United Arab Emirates, but many poorer countries have not yet started vaccination.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he plans to give all adults in the UK their first dose by the autumn, but the WHO has said countries should aim to distribute two billion doses evenly around the world by the end of 2021.
Margaret Harris, WHO spokesperson ()
WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said she wanted to reach out to British citizens and say: They can wait, because ensuring a fair global distribution is certainly morally right.
The company made the statement in the context of an ongoing dispute between AstraZeneca and the European Union (EU) over insufficient supplies of vaccines for the block. The EU on Friday withdrew its threat to cancel part of the Brexit deal for Northern Ireland after the decision was condemned in the context of widespread controls on vaccine exports.
Asked whether Britain should support efforts elsewhere after vaccinating its nine priority groups, rather than continuing to work with less vulnerable groups, Ms Harris responded to a question at Saturday’s breakfast: We demand this of all countries that find themselves in such a situation: Wait, wait for the other groups.
We will also appeal to all UK residents – you can wait.
We ask countries, once these groups – health workers and high-risk workers – are in place, to ensure that the supplies you have access to are made available to others, she added.
This is certainly right from a moral point of view, but also from an economic one.
WHO executives have already stated that vaccine nationalism could cost high-income countries as much as $4.5 trillion.
This represents nearly half of the world’s $9.2 trillion economy, according to a report commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation.
Dr Wenham added that even if the UK succeeds in vaccinating its population, it must maintain border controls until the rest of the world catches up.
Contact our press team by sending an email to [email protected]
For more stories like this, check out our news page.