On Sunday the WHO urged the UK to halt temporarily its vaccination scheme once vulnerable groups get the jab. After the priority group is inoculated, the WHO wants Britain to contribute doses to other countries. Secretary of State for Trade Liz Truss said it was “too early” to discuss talk distributing the UK’s extra vaccines to other nations.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday Ms Truss said: “What we know about the vaccination programme is this is a global problem and we need a global solution.
“We’re only going to be able to deal with this disease if we get everybody vaccinated across the world.”
She added: “Of course, we first need to make sure that our population is vaccinated.
“We have a target to get the most vulnerable vaccinated by late February.
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The EU is also falling far behind the UK in vaccine distribution.
This led to an embarrassing situation when the bloc threatened to trigger Article 16 of the Brexit agreement to halt exports of coronavirus vaccines into Northern Ireland.
Thus the EU, which had harangued the UK against enacting a hard border on the island of Ireland, almost enforced it themselves.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said the UK did want to “help” the EU, which still faces a crisis a lack of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
On Sunday, a WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris urged the UK “can wait” because the fair global distribution of vaccines is “clearly morally the right thing to do”.
However, this contradicts Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ambition to offer all UK adults their first dose by autumn.
Ms Harris told BBC Breakfast on Saturday: “We’re asking all countries in those circumstances to do that: ‘hang on, wait for those other groups’.
“We’ll also appeal to all the people of the UK, you can wait.
“We’re asking countries, once you’ve got those high risk and health care worker groups, please ensure that the supply you’ve got access to is provided for others.
“While that is morally clearly the right thing to do, it’s also economically the right thing to do.
“There have been a number of very interesting analyses showing that just vaccinating your own country and then sitting there and saying ‘we’re fine’ will not work economically.
“That phrase ‘no man is an island’ applies economically as well.
“We in the world.”