Lack of global issues in Covid-19 inquiry a ‘total blind spot’, say campaigners
Date: 13 September 2023
Tim Bierley, pharma campaign manager at Global Justice Now said:
“The lack of any global dimension to the module on vaccines and therapeutics in the Covid-19 inquiry today is a glaring omission. Listening to the counsel to the inquiry today, you’d think the pandemic had started and finished exclusively in the UK. In fact, the UK Government was part of a small group of wealthy countries which pursued vaccine nationalism when vaccines were scarce, and then blocked measures to get every available vaccine factory to join a global effort to ramp up production, in protection of pharmaceutical company interests.
“These efforts unquestionably prolonged the pandemic globally, including here in the UK, and were a key driver of global vaccine inequity. They led to completely avoidable deaths – with the death toll a staggering four times higher in lower-income countries than in high-income nations. It was one of the most significant choices the government made in the pandemic – and it’s a total blind spot in this inquiry. If the UK Government is truly to learn lessons for future pandemics, then the UK’s global role must – at bare minimum – be part of what is examined.”