UK Government ‘hoarding’ 200m vaccines for Omicron ‘morally reprehensible’ say Plaid Cymru Senedd Member
The UK Government’s purchase of 200 million vaccines to combat Omicron and future variants is “morally reprehensible” according to a Plaid Cymru Senedd Member.
Heledd Fychan said that purchasing a high number of vaccines ensured that more would go to waste. In September, Welsh Government confirmed that 40,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine had been destroyed, while figures emerging recently show that the UK-wide count was 600,000.
Heledd Fychan said that the best way of preparing for new ‘variants of concern’ was by vaccinating as much of the global population as possible.
Just 8% of the population in low-income countries have received a single dose, the South Wales Central MS said, meaning that Covid was “free to circulate globally”.
“It is morally reprehensible that high-income countries can be storing millions of vaccines for the years ahead, while only 8% of the population from low-income countries have received a jab,” she said.
“This week we’ve had a terrible reminder that when coronavirus is free to circulate globally, it will change and mutate. At the same time, the UK has confirmed it is hoarding 200 million vaccines for a population of 67 million – 89% of which have already received at least one jab.
“In preparing for future variants of concern, Westminster has failed to realise that the best use of vaccines is in the arms of those that need it the most.
“The inescapable truth is that our freedom will only come when we can lockdown this virus through a global programme of vaccination, and not by locking doses away a cupboard.”
The UK Government announced that it had signed deals with Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna for new vaccines last week.
These future supply deals include access to modified vaccines if they are needed to combat Omicron and future ‘variants of concern’, to prepare for all eventualities, they said.
The deal will see the government procure a total of 114 million additional doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for 2022 and 2023. That is in addition to the 35 million additional doses of Pfizer/BioNTech ordered in August for delivery in the second half of next year, and the 60 million Novavax and 7.5 million GSK/Sanofi doses expected in 2022.
The UK Government’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Thanks to the Vaccines Taskforce, we have an excellent track record of securing the vaccines the country needs to keep this virus at bay.
“These new deals will future proof the Great British vaccination effort – which has so far delivered more than 115 million first, second and booster jabs across the UK – and will ensure we can protect even more people in the years ahead.
“This is a national mission and our best weapon to deal with this virus and its variants is to get jabs in arms – so when you are called forward, get the jab and get boosted.”
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