WHO official: UK should pause vaccinations 'to help vulnerable people worldwide'

30 January 2021, 12:05 | Updated: 30 January 2021, 12:19

By Maddie Goodfellow

Dr Margaret Harris from the World Health Organisation has told LBC the UK should consider pausing its coronavirus vaccine roll-out once the most vulnerable groups have been inoculated to ensure supplies for vulnerable people worldwide.

Speaking to Matt Frei on LBC, Dr Harris said: "Our reaction is to look at what we are about here - this is humanity versus the virus.

"What we have to do is get the health and care workers vaccinated first in every country along with the people who are filling up the hospitals and are desperately ill, the older people and the people with underlying conditions.

"That's the job we've got to do and we have got to do it in every country at the same time now.

"Every country will decide which particular vaccines they want, different countries will want different vaccines for their specific population.

"The important thing is, get those top groups vaccinated all around the world first."

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More than 6.8 million coronavirus vaccinations had taken place across the country as of 26 January, with hopes all adults will be offered a first dose by the autumn and 15 million of the most vulnerable a jab by February 15.

The latest data shows the number of cases is steadily falling, while the number of people receiving the vaccine climbs.

However, more than 100,000 people have now died with Covid-19 in the UK, with the Prime Minister saying it is "hard to compute the sorrow contained in that grim statistic".

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6.8 million coronavirus vaccinations had taken place across the UK as of 26 January
6.8 million coronavirus vaccinations had taken place across the UK as of 26 January. Picture: PA

Matt then pushed Dr Harris further, asking if the UK should help out other countries in vaccinating their populations once the most vulnerable are vaccinated in the UK, Dr Harris said: "That's what we would like to see all countries doing.

"Not to be using up all the very limited supply we have at the moment, but to be enabling that supply to be provided around the world.

"Currently we are seeing squabbles amongst the cake by a few countries whilst there are lots of workers in countries that haven't even got access to the crumbs.

"Of the over 40 million doses that have been used around the world, most have only been used in ten countries. Only two middle or low income countries have started to vaccinate."