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Former Prime Minister of UK discusses vaccine inequality

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Posted: Monday, November 29, 2021. 7:48 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has told the BBC in a video interview that by the end of the year, the world will have enough COVID-19 vaccines to go around – but due to inequality of distribution may risk more lives and deaths.

Brown said that some 12 billion vaccines will be available by the end of the year of various varieties. Yet because they remain stockpiled in western countries including Britain and the United States, countries that need them are not getting them in time and are left vulnerable to mutated versions of coronavirus such as the recently discovered Omicron variant.

Brown estimated that Western countries have averaged 60 to 70 percent of their populations vaccinated while for lower income countries the percentage is far lower, and in some cases many are only just getting in their first vaccinations.

The stockpiled vaccines ought to be immediately shipped out to protect those in the poorest countries, Brown said, adding that it is not only morally right but serves as a form of protection from mutations.

The widening of the gap between the haves and have-nots risks a third year of the pandemic with 200 million more cases and five million more deaths, Brown suggests.

In the long term, poorer countries should have access to technology to create their own vaccine but the more immediate challenge is to get people vaccinated with the current versions to see if they can defeat the Omicron variant, Brown concluded.

 

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