Wed 22 December 2021:
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said that wealthy countries did too little to combat the spread of new COVID-19 variants because they failed to vaccinate more vulnerable parts of the world.
Brown wrote in a Monday op-ed in The Guardian that the new Omicron coronavirus variant is not Africa’s fault, but that wealthy nations are to blame because they have stockpiled hundreds of millions of vaccine doses.
“Time and again throughout history, perpetrators of injustice have absolved themselves and justified miserliness and inaction by blaming the victim,” he said.
He rubbished suggestions wealthier nations faced a choice between offering boosters to their own citizens or sharing doses with people living in poorer countries. “Ours is not a fraught choice between boosters and vaccinating the world. We are manufacturing enough vaccines … to immunise the whole world.” Instead, Brown said it was an “inescapable and unacceptable fact” that of the billions of vaccines administered, only 0.6% ended up in low-income countries.
Noting that wealthy nations are manufacturing enough vaccines to immunize the whole world, he said, “it is an inescapable and unacceptable fact that of the billions of doses of vaccine administered, only 0.6 percent ended up in low-income countries, while over 70 percent have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries.”
“Instead of lurching from COVID crisis to COVID crisis, we must resolve that 2022 will be the year when we finally bring the virus fully under control,” said Brown.
Brown issued a plea to world leaders to fund a $23.4bn (£17.7bn) plan by the World Health Organization and other aid groups to bring Covid vaccines, tests and drugs to poorer countries in the next 12 months. “The great global challenge of 2022 must be to wipe away that stain by finding the money to bridge the yawning divide between the world’s protected rich and unprotected poor,” Brown said.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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