Preventing poor countries from vaccine “apartheid” will require the G7 group of rich nations to commit $ 30 billion (£ 22 billion) a year to a global immunization campaign, Gordon Brown said.
The former Labor Prime Minister said the UK should use the June G7 summit in Cornwall to rekindle the moral purpose of the 2005 Make Poverty History campaign, paying its share of the new fund by reversing the government’s “wrong” cut to the foreign aid budget. .
Brown, who has written for The Guardian outlining his plan for a massive $ 30 billion-a-year vaccination program, said he was alarmed that vaccination in Africa had only just begun and warned this would have repercussions for wealthy nations.
The G7 – the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada – should contribute $ 30 billion annually, he said, in line with its share of global economic output. Britain is expected to contribute between 5% and 6% of the total, between $ 1.5 billion and $ 1.8 billion a year.
Brown, who was chancellor when the 2005 Gleneagles summit took steps to help the world’s poorest countries through debt relief and increased aid, said: “Britain could easily pay its share of the G7 fund immediately reversing the wrong cut in the aid budget announced by the chancellor last year ”.
Despite cutting aid spending this year from 0.7% to 0.5% of national income, the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab said at the spring meeting of the World Bank last week the UK pledged to play its part in the global effort to respond to the pandemic.
“We are committed to using our G7 presidency to drive further action, in that spirit we will share the majority of Covid-19 vaccines that exceed our domestic needs through Covax’s procurement pool,” Raab said.
But Brown said the current approach to raising funds to help spread the benefits of vaccination beyond the wealthiest counties was equivalent to one round. “That is not a way to manage global finances,” he said.
“Contributions must be based on an equitable distribution of the burden. The G7 can afford to pay 60% of vaccination costs for developing countries and oil states, China and others can help pay the rest.
“All those who remember Live Aid and Make Poverty History know what a mass mobilization can accomplish and I want to see a petition with, hopefully, several million signatures sent asking for action to vaccinate now.”
In his Guardian article, Brown said that rich countries that make up 20% of the world’s population have been responsible for most of the vaccine orders. Meanwhile, only 70,000 people in Africa, which has a population of 1.2 billion, have been fully vaccinated.
“Immunizing the West, but only a fraction of the developing world, is already fueling accusations of ‘vaccine apartheid’ and will leave Covid-19 spreading, mutating and threatening our lives and livelihoods for years to come.” He said.
Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund they have been calling for an intensification of the global vaccine effort, and Brown said a “Herculean” mobilization, led by the G7, would be needed to reach as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. The real problem was not the shortage of vaccines, but the lack of money to pay for them, he added.
“Vaccine diplomacy, whereby nations selectively donate vaccines to friendly allies, is little more than ‘prick’ diplomacy because only the favored few will be free from Covid.
“We need to spend now to save lives, and we need to spend tomorrow to keep getting vaccinated every year until the disease stops claiming lives. And this will require at least $ 30 billion a year, a bill that no one so far seems willing to fully underwrite. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism