GORDON Brown has launched a scathing attack on Western governments for “hoarding and stockpiling” vaccines as he called on political leaders to hold an urgent summit to save lives in the developing world.
The former prime minister has accused the UK Government and other leaders of Western nations of a “moral failure” and “doing the worst possible thing for making the world safer against Covid”.
Speaking on Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday show, Mr Brown also accused European countries of “raiding Africa for vaccines”.
He said: “70 per cent of the West has been vaccinated – only 2% in Africa and actually in all the low-income countries of the world, so 98% are unprotected.
“It’s bad for them, it’s bad for us – the disease will come back to haunt us from Africa and hurt even the fully-vaccinated here with new variants.
“There are hundreds of millions of unused vaccines that are either stored or are on order for delivery to Europe and America, including the United Kingdom – 300 million by the end of this month, 500 million by the end of October, 1 billion by the end of December.
“These vaccines could save thousands of lives in Africa.
“No issues we are talking about could save more lives than a policy decision by the richest counties that these surplus, unused, stockpiled stocks, could actually go to the poorest countries who desperately need them to protect even the nurses and their health workers who remain unvaccinated against this disease.”
Mr Brown added: “For a few weeks, Europe has been raiding Africa for vaccines and taking them from a production facility in South Africa to Europe.
“We are doing the worst possible thing when it comes to making the world safer against Covid. If we leave these people unprotected, if it spreads uninhibited, it will come back to us.”
Mr Brown has called on G7 leaders to call an emergency summit in the next two weeks to resolve the “urgent problem”, which he warned “if left unaddressed” could mean “thousands of people are at risk of dying”.
He said: “It’s really a failure of international coordination.
“Record supplies are going to be available, but the distribution is all wrong. We are hoarding and stockpiling when we should actually be delivering them to the people who need them – knowing that if we need more vaccines and we have another bout that we need to deal with, we can get vaccines very quickly.
“You’ll find African leaders will be demanding it too.
“Faith and church leaders know that this vaccine divide between vaccine-rich and vaccine-poor is really a terrible stain.
“It’s a moral failure on the part of the whole of the world.”