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G20 countries reprimanded for slow progress on vaccine equity

17 November 2022

Alamy

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak (left), meets the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, during a bilateral meeting of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Wednesday

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak (left), meets the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, during a bilateral meeting of the G20 summit in Bali, Indone...

G20 COUNTRIES — and the UK especially — are not doing enough to fight the Covid-19 pandemic which continues around the world, Christian Aid and the People’s Vaccine Alliance have warned.

Christian Aid said on Wednesday that the UK was “haemorrhaging moral authority” on global issues because it had fallen to 19th place out of the G20 countries in terms of its levels of support for tackling Covid-19 around the world — the worst-ranking high-income country, based on analysis by the global think tank the ODI (Overseas Development Institute).

The index ranks G20 countries in three areas: global vaccine financing, national procurement and distribution, and support for trade and manufacturing policy reforms (News, 1 April). South Africa is the G20 country with the best record in promoting global vaccine equity; G20-host Indonesia is second.

The chief of policy at Christian Aid, Oliver Pearce, said: “The richest countries have a responsibility to improve global access to Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments, given their wealth and high vaccination rates. . .

“But amid a collision of international crises, the UK is turning its back on the world and undermining efforts to produce more vaccines, tests, and treatments in lower-income countries. By holding back the global pandemic response, the UK is haemorrhaging moral authority amongst international partners.”

The charity said that the UK was “obstructing” efforts at the World Trade Organization to make it easier for low and middle-income countries to produce generic versions of Covid-19 treatments and tests.

The campaign coordinator at People’s Vaccine Alliance Asia, Lanz Espacio, said: “This year’s G20 summit feels a long way from the days when world leaders once said ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe’.

“Not a single G20 country has lived up to its responsibility to combat Covid-19 around the world. Low and middle-income countries are sick of waiting for what the rich world may offer. We need to remove barriers like intellectual property rules to bolster medicine production in the global south.”

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