Note: this action was published on 26 May. Since then, the UK Government has announced it will donate 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. There is more work to be done to ensure the donation happens in a timely way, and that the UK has longer term plans to ensure vaccine and health equity for all. We’ll be coming back to this campaign in July. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had enormous consequences for humanity, with an estimated 3.4 million deaths worldwide so far, and a massive increase in poverty. In rich countries, millions of people have been protected with vaccines; but in many less wealthy countries, far fewer doses are available, and it is likely that there will still be many unvaccinated people in some sub-Saharan African countries in 2024.
Although pandemic has shown the world it’s possible to develop a new vaccine quickly, the challenge of creating equal access to the vaccine remains ongoing. Whilst wealthy countries have bought large numbers of doses, many lower- and middle- income countries around the world can’t afford to buy enough to protect their populations, and have been calling for more investment and policy changes to ensure no country is left behind.
Right now the UK is in possession of enough vaccine doses to meet demand, meaning we can – and should – donate surplus doses with countries who don’t. COVID-19 is a global health emergency, meaning urgent solutions like dose sharing are needed. But this is only one step in what must be a sustained and long-term effort to improve access to vaccines and build strong health systems.
This month, ask your MP to call on the UK Government to urgently share surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses, as part of a longer-term response to the COVID-19 crisis. Use the Action sheet for more details on the global context and what exactly we’re asking MPs to do, and read the Background Sheet for everything you need to know about dose sharing.
If you missed the June Grassroots Conference Call, with guest speaker Dr. Srinivas Murthy, you can catch up here.
Image: Second Lady of Ghana, Samira Bawumia receives first COVID-19 vaccination. Francis Kokoroko/UNICEF