Evening Standard Comment: We need Covid vaccines for the world, not just the rich

·2-min read
The vaccine passport scheme is due to come into force on October 1 (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)
The vaccine passport scheme is due to come into force on October 1 (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

Vaccines for the world

In an exclusive interview with the Standard, Dr David Nabarro, special envoy on Covid-19 for the World Health Organisation, criticises political leaders around the world for failing to champion a global push to defeat the pandemic.

Specifically, he accuses high-income nations such as Britain of stockpiling vaccines and pushing back the date low-income countries can get theirs.

He is right. We support a booster programme for the vulnerable and elderly though, as Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert — one of the creators of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine — has said, not everyone will require one.

It remains critical that we accelerate the roll-out of vaccinations in every nation. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but because a new variant that emerges from a largely unvaccinated population is one of the greatest threats to our own health and recovery.

It is why this newspaper is proud to run our Vaccine for the World campaign, to highlight the challenges of global vaccine inequality, the potential solutions and role of London’s scientists and innovators in building a safer planet.

We have also called for the need to ramp up vaccine production and manufacturing capacity in low-income countries. That is one of the most direct ways to ensure that it is not only the rich that can protect themselves from Covid and future pandemics.

There has been much lofty rhetoric from governments about vaccinating everyone. Time to make it a reality.

We’re dining out again

According to our sources, you’re probably going out for dinner tonight.

Spending in restaurants at weekends has hit 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, while weekend visitors to the capital are at 86 per cent of normal levels. This is the latest in a string of positive stats about London’s bounce-back.

But the news is not all chateaubriand and tarte tatin. Restaurants are still struggling, both to hire staff and with the supply chain problems that are crippling sectors across our economy.

As the latest ONS growth figures show, the road to recovery will be a bumpy one.

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