Gordon Brown calls for emergency vaccine airlift to poorer nations

17 October 2021, 13:17

Former PM Gordon Brown wants to send over a billion vaccines to low-income countries
Former PM Gordon Brown wants to send over a billion vaccines to low-income countries. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown is calling for an emergency airlift of 240 million coronavirus vaccines to help poorer countries and save lives.

Mr Brown said the move could prevent one million coronavirus deaths that are projected in the next year.

An October airlift would be the first stage of his plan to deliver more than one billion unused vaccines to countries in need by February 2022.

He wants the UK, US, EU and Canada to send vaccines to 92 countries where only 5% or less of the population has been vaccinated.

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Mr Brown's plan involves the mobilisation of aircraft and ground support for the "unparalleled distribution" of the 240 million jabs.

He is calling for an emergency summit for leaders Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, Canada's Justin Trudeau and the EC's Ursula von der Leyen.

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The former PM said: "While vaccines have been pledged, we are not getting the vaccines into people's arms quickly enough or on sufficient scale, and with vaccines stockpiled in the west we urgently need a timetable to prevent avoidable loss of lives.

"An immediate emergency airlift of 240 million vaccines this month from the global north to the global south should be followed by the transfer of a further 760 million vaccines by February.

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"If we do not use the stockpiled vaccines, many, perhaps 100 million, will go to waste when they pass their use by dates and expire.

"This initiative - the biggest peacetime public policy decision to prevent avoidable deaths - could save 100,000 lives and prevent many of the one million Covid-induced deaths projected over the next few months."