'None of us are safe': Former PM accuses UK of 'hoarding' Covid vaccines

29 October 2021, 08:40

Gordon Brown told LBC&squot;s Nick Ferrari developed countries such as the UK are "hoarding" Covid vaccines
Gordon Brown told LBC's Nick Ferrari developed countries such as the UK are "hoarding" Covid vaccines. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Gordon Brown has accused the UK of "hoarding" coronavirus vaccines and has warned the disease could "mutate and come back" if richer countries do not share jabs around the world.

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The former Prime Minister told LBC's Nick Ferrari that developed countries had over-ordered on vaccines, and now doses will go to waste unless they are shared around the globe.

"In America, Britain, the EU and Canada there's probably about 240m vaccines that are either lying in warehouses or are about to arrive in delivery contracts," said Mr Brown.

"The success of manufacturing production is such that we're producing 1.5 billion vaccines in the world every month - it will soon be two billion.

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"So there are enough vaccines if we distribute them properly to get them to the places that need them.

"Unfortunately we're hoarding them in some countries at the moment, and there's about 200m vaccines that could be airlifted out tomorrow and save hundreds of thousands of lives."

Mr Brown also warned that vaccines were key to completely defeating the virus, saying that Covid would "mutate" and "come back" if the whole world was not vaccinated.

"None of us are safe anywhere until everybody is vaccinated everywhere," he said.

"The World Health Organisation said this week that we have had five million deaths and there will be another five million deaths if we don't vaccinate.

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"They've said that there has been 245 million cases round the world, and there's going to be another 200 million."

He said the world was only "just over halfway through" the pandemic.

"Unless we get vaccines to the countries that don't have them at the moment then the disease will spread, it will mutate," he said.

"We may think it's not going to hit us but it will come back in new variants and it will hit even the fully-vaccinated in Britain."

He said the global vaccine rollout was not an issue of supply but of coordination.

"There will be twelve billion vaccines have been produced by the end of the year, enough to vaccinate the whole world," he said.

"But we don't have them in the right places and I'm calling on the countries that have the vaccines and don't use them - and that's after boosters, and it's after vaccinating the young people, you've got extra vaccines because you've over-ordered - get them to the countries that need them.

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"Let's get the world vaccinated and let's feel safe, otherwise these vaccines are going to be wasted.

"They're going to pass their expiry date.

"It's criminal to see vaccines wasted when they could save lives."