Rory Stewart, former Tory MP for Penrith and The Border, appeared on yesterday’s episode of BBC Newsnight to discuss the UK donating Covid vaccines. Boris Johnson and other leaders in the G7 have committed to donating jabs to poorer countries to beat the pandemic.
Speaking with host Kirsty Wark, Mr Stewart flagged difficulties delivering jabs to countries due to politics.
After noting “big divisions in the G7” and vaccine expiry dates, he said: “The major issue is that this is not just about producing vaccine, it’s also about reassuring people, it’s about delivering them and in some cases working in very different contexts.
“As the World Health Organisation found, as the whole world found for example working on Ebola in the DRC, these are often not simply medical issues, they can be issues that are ultimately connected with politics, with conflict.
“It’s going to be very, very difficult to get these doses out, even within two years, and it’s going to require unbelievable money, focus and seriousness from all international actors working behind the WHO.”
READ MORE: Boris Johnson to send 100million Covid vaccines worldwide
Dr. Ayoade Alakija, co-chair of African Union’s Covid-19 Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance, was asked if there is a “danger [that] Covid-19 becomes endemic in poorer countries”.
She said: “The fear is that the richer countries in the world will be over this pandemic and then it will become the pandemic of the poor. We cannot allow this to happen…
“There is a problem, not with it becoming endemic, I think it’s more sinister than that.
“I think it’s likely it will go around the world, work its way around the world, and the virus will get stronger and stronger and will literally become the counterfactual in what happens if we don’t donate vaccines.
“We’re seeing that today in India, we’re beginning to see it in Africa where we’re seeing multiple increases (in Covid cases).”
The Prime Minister confirmed the UK will donate more than 100 million coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries.
Britain’s first five million jabs will be donated by the end of September, and another 25 million will be sent by the end of the year.
Mr Johnson said: “As a result of the success of the UK’s vaccine programme, we are now in a position to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them.
“In doing so we will take a massive step towards beating this pandemic for good.”
The US will donate 500 million jabs, with most other G7 countries matching the 100 million.
According to ourworldindata.org, more than 2.26 billion vaccines have been administered, with roughly 6.2 percent of the world fully vaccinated.
Yesterday saw another 176,559 first doses and 316,258 second doses of coronavirus vaccine administered.
In total, the UK has administered 40,886,878 first doses and 28,857,102 second doses, equalling 77.6 percent and 54.8 percent of the population respectively.
Yesterday also saw another 7,393 cases and 7 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
As of writing, the UK has seen 4,542,986 cases and 127,867 deaths.