Note: this action was published on 30 June. On 28 July, the UK Government announced it will donate 9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, 5 million of those via COVAX. However, vaccine demand far outstrips supply, and the UK has only committed to donating the pledged 100 million does by July 2022 – a far from sufficient degree of urgency. Please subscribe to our newsletter for updates.
To date, almost 89% of UK adults have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and just over 73% have had their second jab. Up to 32 million people in the UK are to start receiving COVID booster jabs from September this year and roll-out to 12-18 years olds has begun. Whilst this is wonderful for news for people in the UK, millions of people around the world are nowhere near being vaccinated. G7 countries have all bought many more doses than they need - three billion more than it takes to fully vaccinate 70% of their populations. Many poorer countries are paying the price though, struggling to access the vaccines they urgently need.
In June, we called on the UK Government to urgently share these doses with poorer countries through COVAX. Then, at the G7 Summit, the UK announced that it will share 100 million doses. While this is a start, it completely lacks the urgency and scale required, with only 5 million of these doses initially committed to being shared by September. The price at which they’ll be valued is yet to be announced though, and neither has a robust and transparent plan for distributing the doses.
A recent report warns 9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that the UK government has donated to COVAX and directly to certain low and middle income countries are set to expire by the end of September. This raises serious concerns that these doses may go to waste, or put strains on already hard-pressed health systems to administer.
While dose sharing is just one fight in a wider battle for global vaccine equity, it is vital that the UK strengthens its commitment and shares doses as quickly and effectively as possible, to ensure more people are protected from COVID-19.
Join us now to make sure the Government commits to distributing doses faster, pricing the doses fairly, and publishing a transparent strategy for distribution.
Email your MP asking them to urge the UK Government to bolster its dose sharing announcement (see the Action Sheet attached for details)
Take action on social media with our toolkit (you can also ask your MP to speak out).
Main image: National COVID 19 Vaccine Introduction Launching Program at Eka Kotebe Hospital Addis Ababa. UNICEF Ethiopia / Nahom Tesfaye