Human Rights & Public Liberties

Human Rights & Public Liberties

Published on: 13 Jan, 2021

Gordon Brown calls for emergency vaccine airlift to Africa

Published on: 17 October, 2021
A vaccination is given to a volunteer in Germany. [Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach]

A vaccination is given to a volunteer in Germany. [Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach]

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who is currently an adviser to the WHO called for an emergency vaccine airlift to Africa which would be part of an ‘ambitious action plan’.

Speaking to the Observer newspaper Brown said that an airlift could save more than 100 000 lives in Africa

Brown told the Observer ‘An immediate emergency airlift of 240m vaccines this month from the global north to the global south should be followed by the transfer of a further 760m vaccines transferred by February.’

Brown described the airlift as an initiative that would be ‘the biggest peacetime policy decision’.

Brown is urging UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson , President of the European Commission Ursula van der Leyen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to attend a summit before the start of the G20 meeting that is to be held in Rome this month with the purpose of getting them to agree to an airlift.


‘An atrocity’

Currently less than 5% of the African population has been vaccinated.

Fatima Hassan, director of the Cape Town-based  Health Justice Initiative said: ‘An airlift paints the picture of a vaccine famine in Africa which is not sustainable. What is necessary is an urgent resolution on the Trips waiver and the urgent scaling up of manufacturing of vaccines. We also need pharmaceutical companies to share vaccine know-how so that we can have multiple licencees in the Global South so that we can start manufacturing vaccines. We don’t want to keep relying on donations.’

In September Brown warned that more than 100 million Covid vaccine doses could expire and be wasted if global leaders do not agree to share their surplus vaccine supplies with the world’s poorest countries.

The campaign group Global Justice Now has described the wasting of millions of vaccine doses which could be used in poorer countries as an ‘atrocity’.