Evening Standard Comment: We are failing the world’s poor on Covid vaccination

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 (Christian Adams)
(Christian Adams)

Today, the Prime Minister met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta as part of a landmark Global Education Summit in London this week.

The pandemic has caused huge disruption to education. At its peak, 1.3 billion children were removed from school. The most disadvantaged will drop out permanently, which could lead to a lost generation.

The UK is reportedly set to provide Kenya with 800,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This is a hugely welcome development but represents only a drop in the ocean given the crisis.

According to Our World In Data, just 1.2 per cent of Kenya’s population has been fully vaccinated. And the country is not alone in Africa in having jabbed so few.

Rich countries must up their game. We must support work to boost medicines and vaccine manufacturing in Africa, which imports 95 per cent of all medicines. Furthermore, suspending patents sounds good, but without expertise sharing, it will do little to bring supply to places in real need.

Africa is home to 1.3 billion people, yet less than two per cent of its population is fully vaccinated. This is a moral failing. We can celebrate the miracle of vaccines but far too many are being left defenceless.

This must urgently change or it will be a stain on us all.

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