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THE Tories’ announcement on Covid-19 vaccine donations today was shoddy PR and shamefully inadequate, campaigners charged.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed that Britain would begin delivering nine million shots to poorer nations this week, with Indonesia, Jamaica and Kenya among the countries set to receive doses.
Ministers have pledged to donate a total of 100 million vaccines by next summer.
But, under pressure from Britain and Germany, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) general council has been unable to approve an intellectual property waiver which would allow many of the countries receiving charitable doses to produce their own vaccines in much greater numbers.
WTO member states will hold an informal meeting in September, followed by a formal two-day meeting in October, after they failed to reach a consensus on the issue.
Campaign group Global Justice Now condemned Mr Raab’s suggestion that some doses would be distributed on a “strategic basis,” and said it should not be up to ministers to decide whether a country is geopolitically useful enough to deserve leftover jabs.
The group’s director Nick Dearden said that Britain’s donations are “shamefully inadequate” and that the pandemic is a “global health crisis, not an opportunity for vain self-promotion.
“Worse still, this shoddy piece of PR went out on the very day the UK is blocking real solutions at the World Trade Organisation.
“We should be building domestic manufacturing in [poorer] countries by waiving intellectual property and sharing technological know-how.”
The World Health Organisation has criticised wealthier nations for “gobbling up” global vaccines.
G7 countries, including Britain, have purchased over a third of the world’s vaccine supply despite making up only 13 per cent of the global population.
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