UNICEF warned that millions of Covid-19 vaccines could be wasted if rich countries send large amounts of leftover doses to poorer nations in one go. According to UNICEF, there needed to be a steady supply throughout the year because poor countries do not have the resources to use them all at once.
“Low-income countries need a steady supply that they can get off the tarmac and into the arms of health care workers,” Unicef’s vaccine lead Lily Caprani said.
“The unintended consequence of saving all these vaccines up to Christmas time is that countries won’t be able to absorb them and roll them out and therefore they could end up going to waste. We could see millions of doses of vaccines not used and expiring, and that will be a tragedy.”
Many celebrities have signed a letter to the G7 group of rich countries – including the UK – asking them to donate 20 percent of their vaccines by August.
“The pandemic will not be over anywhere until it is over everywhere,” said Beckham.
The other stars who have signed the letter include Andy Murray, Olivia Colman, Ewan McGregor, Liam Payne, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Orlando Bloom, Katy Perry, Gemma Chan, Whoopi Goldberg, Claudia Schiffer and Chris Hoy.
Caprani told media that countries needed to vaccinate their own populations at the same time as the rest of the world.
“At some point, no doubt, we will need to vaccinate under-18s,” she said. “But the priority at this moment has to be making sure that all of the vulnerable and priority groups around the world get vaccines.
“So we’re saying countries like the UK and the G7 need to donate their doses to those low-income countries now, while still vaccinating their populations at home.”
The UK have pledged donating their surplus doses but has not revealed how many doses it plans to donate.