FOLLOWING the emergence of the Omicron virus, several African countries are now on the UK red list. This won’t stop movement altogether and the Omicron virus will spread regardless. It’s not as if we weren’t warned (The Yorkshire Post, November 29).
Since being appointed World Health Organisation ambassador for global health financing in September, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has increased calls for the leaders of the world’s major economies, including the UK, to fulfil their promises made at the June G7 to donate a substantial share of their massive stockpiles of Covid-19 vaccines to poor countries. If not, they will pass their expiry date and be wasted.
Gordon Brown has been the most outspoken critic, but is not the first to raise this issue and warn against stockpiling. Epidemiologists and economists worldwide have been warning since the vaccines came into production that if rich nations harbour supplies beyond their need they would deprive hundreds of millions of people in poor countries of life-saving vaccinations, and cause conditions that bear down hardest on the weakest economies.
So far, only 3.6 per cent of people in low income countries have had at least one vaccine dose, compared to 71.4 per cent in countries like ours. The UK is among the countries who have also secured agreements for vaccine doses several times their population need. Meanwhile, only paltry amounts (11 per cent on the part of the UK) of stocks promised at the G7 in June have been released.
These donations are in the self-interest of countries like ours. Keeping the spread of Covid-19 low across the world would help protect us because the longer the virus remains unchecked the greater the chance it has to mutate and create new variants for which there is no known vaccine. We don’t know yet what level of threat Omicron holds for our health and our economy but the risk is high if we wait too long to find out.
Action is needed now to correct the imbalance in vaccine supplies. If re-distribution is not accelerated, the virus will continue to mutate possibly into more virulent variants. At this rate, only when the economic impact of the pandemic becomes intolerable in advanced economies like the UK will decisive action to share supplies begin. In the meantime, the health and economic costs will become increasingly pressing in all countries, but mostly to the weakest.
From: Phyllis Capstick, Hellifield.
SCIENTISTS and the powers that be say that they must protect the “oldies” in society, yet these are the ones who are being disproportionally affected by all the rules and regulations because people who are working are able to lead a fairly “normal” life.
Time lost can never be regained, especially for the elderly. We have been through the University of Life. and being told what to do, or not, by highly-educated idiots, who cannot see that they are doing more harm than good with their authoritarianism.
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