British public supports sharing of Covid-19 vaccines - poll

10 May 2021, 12:45 | Updated: 10 May 2021, 12:48

Sharing vaccines with other countries may prevent the emergence of new variants.
Sharing vaccines with other countries may prevent the emergence of new variants. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

The majority of the British public support sharing coronavirus vaccines with other countries in order to limit the emergence of new variants, a poll has found.

Humanitarian group One Campaign surveyed over 2,000 people and found that 67 per cent agreed that it was important for the UK to share vaccines with other countries to prevent new strains emerging.

“The public get that sharing doses now isn't just generous, it's in our own interests,” said Romilly Greenhill, UK Director of One Campaign.

“The pandemic doesn't end with a vaccine, it ends when everyone, in every country, gets the vaccine.”

The vaccine rollout in the UK has been hailed a success by many, with over a third of adults fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

However, the survey revealed a growing awareness of the fact that the success of the vaccination programme globally has been much more variable, and 58 percent of those surveyed believed that richer countries had behaved unfairly by reserving more vaccines than they need.

It comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned of “vaccine deserts” where a dozen countries - many of them in Africa - have no doses at all.

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford University vaccine group, said it is time for countries to rethink their priorities and to take a global health perspective.

“We are facing an absolute calamity,” he said. "History won't look kindly on us if a million people die this month and we haven't acted. Countries that have now vaccinated the vast majority of the vulnerable need to be rethinking priorities. We just can't stand by and see that level of catastrophe happen."