The Reader: We’re the Covid pariah of Europe

·4-min read
Joe Giddens/PA (PA Wire)
Joe Giddens/PA (PA Wire)

Vaccine roll-out for world’s poor must do better

While the UK Government has now embarked on a programme of starting to offer 8.5 million who are eligible a third booster vaccine, the number of people in the world’s poorest countries who have been fully vaccinated is just 1.3 per cent.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to supply 100 million surplus vaccines within the next year to poor countries but, as with so many of his promises, he has delivered fewer than 10 per cent of this figure. This comes in the wake of his government’s cut in our overseas aid programme to the same countries.

I’m 60 next month and was vaccinated in March but I won’t be having another until the world’s poorest people, with the world’s poorest medical facilities, have been given a better deal.

Mike Shearing

Dear Mike,

The lack of equitable global vaccine distribution should be a source of great shame for Britain and other rich nations. Some 100,000 lives have been saved in the UK because of 100 million vaccines. There are millions of vaccines sitting in Europe and America that are unlikely to be used for months. How many more lives could have been saved in the rest of the world if global leaders had created an effective distribution system which met the targets it promised? No matter how efficient our own vaccine rollout has been, it will always be undercut by this failure.

Emma Loffhagen, Comment writer

Funding London will safeguard UK’s recovery

As a cross-party group of London MPs, we believe the capital has a pivotal role to play in levelling up the UK. London has longstanding challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis — including the highest unemployment and homelessness of any region.

But London is also integral to the UK economy, and growth here benefits the entire country. The Government’s spending review must give London the funding and flexibilities necessary to secure the post-pandemic economic recovery.

Sir Bob Neill MP and Feryal Clark MP, Co-Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London

Dear Sir Bob and Feryal,

We know that when it comes to employment, London’s recovery from the pandemic is lagging way behind the rest of the UK. We also know that London has some of the poorest areas of the country. But the Prime Minister has so far focused his attention on addressing deprivation in parts of the North and the Midlands which voted Tory for the first time in 2019.

Londoners don’t disagree with Boris Johnson’s mission to address regional inequality but don’t want the capital’s problems to be ignored. The question is whether there is enough money to address London’s needs too.

David Bond, Deputy Political Editor

We’re the Covid pariah of Europe

The UK is again becoming the Covid pariah of Europe. I have just returned from a trip to Germany, where masks are compulsory on trains and vaccine passports are required for many activities. On average, Germany has about 10,000 new infections per day — the UK figure is nearly five times that. But apparently we should not worry as Boris Johnson‘s government “is keeping a close eye” on it. I think they have been closing both eyes — and this laissez-faire attitude is highly irresponsible

Bob Bischof

Parts of New Zealand are in lockdown as more than 100 Covid cases were reported in the last 24 hours. Yet the UK, with increasingly high case numbers, has even done away with mask wearing, saying the public must “take personal responsibility”. I can’t take personal responsibility for someone not wearing a mask.

Terry Harper

A very high proportion of those with Covid in hospital are unvaccinated or some with just the first jab. That was their choice, and sadly they now suffer as do we, paying for their treatment. The public must take responsibility on where more precautions can easily be taken, fresh air, washing hands, maintaining distance or wearing a mask. We now have a wide choice of vaccines thus, as for colds and flu, our economic and social life must continue as best it can. Everyday life may be fettered by sensible precautions, and curtailed somewhat but schools and public services must be maintained as best they can be.

Hugh Marsden

The government is asking people to come forward for their booster jabs...I would if I could! So far my doctor's surgery has no vaccines. Think they possibly don't have the staff due to mass exodus! I've just rung 119 as advised. Only a machine answering and going in ever decreasing circles! No joy with flu jab either.

Angela Wakenell

Wearing a mask is not a big deal, you protect other people if you have the virus, and therefore keep the infection rate lower in the community. My mother's care home has been closed for weeks because of an infection. The Government’s behaviour of not wearing masks in Parliament is irresponsible. I understand the reluctance of working from home will affect many businesses but wearing a mask does not, no excuse.

Anya Joanes

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