It is another stark reminder of challenges ahead, then, that he should be telling major nations to commit £22 billion a year as part of a “Herculean” vaccination push to include poorer countries.
Mr Brown has called for the mass vaccination of the world to be the primary focus of the G7 summit, which starts on June 11 in Cornwall.
Vaccines are currently shared internationally under the World Health Organisation-backed Covax programme, which is working to provide vaccines for low and middle-income countries.
However, Mr Brown said the issue is not a shortage in the number of vaccines, but the “shortage of money to pay for them”, adding the funds needed to end the global crisis “are a fraction of the trillions Covid is costing us”.
Writing in The Guardian, Mr Brown said: “Immunising the West but only a fraction of the developing world is already fuelling allegations of ‘vaccine apartheid’, and will leave Covid-19 spreading, mutating and threatening the lives and livelihoods of us all for years to come.”
Politicians have repeatedly been accused of mistakes or short-term thinking at various stages of the pandemic.
Given the evident dangers of new coronavirus variants spreading to the UK and elsewhere - potentially undoing hard-won and laudable vaccination efforts – it seems agreeable that the most prudent course now, more than a decade on from Mr Brown’s departure from Downing Street, would be for its current residents to help share the wealth with those in direst need.