Nicola Sturgeon urges Scots to get coronavirus jabs
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Dr Philippa Whitford, who is the vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on coronavirus, urged wealthy countries like the UK to share their vaccines with poorer countries. The SNP’s Westminster Health spokeswoman said without doing so, millions of extra deaths will occur as she fears variants would emerge which could wreck vaccination programmes. Dr Whitford has faced criticisms for the calls as Government ministers reveal why it is better not to share doses right now.
Dr Whitford appeared on Times Radio to discuss the problems countries around the world are facing.
She was asked whether she wanted vaccine sharing to be backdated or begin from now.
She replied: “Obviously we would like to see the UK sharing as many doses as possible but even going forward would be a start.
“I mean, this has to be a multi-pronged attack of trying to get a global response as was promised last spring.
“There was a lot of rhetoric about a global response to a global crisis but in actual fact, low-income countries have had access to less than half a percent of the vaccines administered so far.”
She was then asked why there had been a reserved approach from countries to tackle the pandemic together.
She continued: “As [the Indian variant] is now called delta variant by the WHO that was first identified in India exactly exemplifies the failure of just thinking let’s vaccinate us and then we are safe.
“And, you know to heck with everybody else – It doesn’t work that way.
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“If we have countries running into 2022 even 2-23 without having real access to vaccination, there will be more variants.
“And just like the variant from India, they will get here.
“One dose of the vaccines we’re using at the moment is only 33 percent effective against the Indian variant.
“That will happen in the future as well.
“So there’s a humanitarian need, otherwise we will have millions of extra deaths before wealthy countries feel they can kindly give their leftovers.
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“But the other thing is that just self-preservation should tell us that this approach is not going to work in the long term, it will prolong the pandemic.”
Dr Whitford was supported by fellow APPG member, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who has joined calls for more vaccines to be shared around the world.
But former Conservative Party Leader William Hague also appeared on Times Radio but revealed why it was not within anyone’s interests to share vaccines just yet.
He revealed the UK is already the third-largest contributor to the World Health Organisation’s COVAX scheme, behind the US and Germany, which provides vaccine supply guarantees to poorer countries.
He added the UK is also investing in manufacturing infrastructure which could see the country become the biggest supplier of vaccines in the world.
Mr Hague also revealed recommendations from the IMF and World Bank suggest countries should focus on their own domestic vaccine programme first as it is easier and more effective in the long run to do so.
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