Monday, 25 Oct 2021

Green Party leader tells Boris Johnson to ‘slow’ vaccine rollout and send jabs to India

UK vaccine rollout should 'slow down to help India' says Bartley

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Jonathan Bartley said there was a “moral case” to be made for the UK to share its Indian-produced vaccines with the host country as daily infections reach hundreds of thousands. The UK has already sent medical supplies and equipment to India which arrived early Tuesday made up of ventilators and oxygen which have been in high demand. Mr Bartley called the situation “absurd” when India was desperate for medical supplies but had to honour pharmaceutical contracts which exports vaccines to other nations.

Speaking on Politics Live, Mr Bartley said: “I think given the situation that we’re in I have to say there is a moral case where every life is of equal worth.

“If there are things that we can do which will obviously save lives, and let’s remember that even if we did pass all vaccines on now they’re not going to address the situation immediately. 

“They’re going to help people in four or five, six weeks, and given the desperate situation I think there is a case for slowing down – but making sure everyone gets their second jabs in this country, yes.

“But potentially slowing down and maybe for every vaccine we’re giving here one should stay in India.”

Cases in India have surged due to several reasons including major Hindu festivals, elections being held and dense living conditions in cities.

Around 200,000 people have died so far but experts believe the figure could be much higher as there may be thousands of unrecorded deaths. 

Hospitals are struggling to treat Covid sufferers and many patients have been sent home to rest there instead. 

The US, China, UK, Australia and other major powers are sending medical supplies to help with the new outbreak. 

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In March, India halted many large exports of vaccines as manufacturers struggled to keep on top of demand. 

Many countries across the world rely on India to produce the doses as many manufacturer labs are based around the country. 

But less than 10 percent of Indians have received their first vaccine and combined with the surge in cases has forced the Indian government to take action. 

Mr Bartley continued: “Because of course some are coming from India and we have an absurd situation where they’re sending vaccines to us when they desperately need them there.

“I think if we can show that we can maintain safety here and minimise loss of death here we can save many more lives in India. There is a very very strong compelling case for that.”

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The Green Party have previously criticised the UK for vaccine nationalism earlier this year when disputes broke out between the EU and UK over vaccine supply. 

The European Commission introduced new powers to allow the banning of vaccine exports to countries outside of the EU in response to a fall in dose availability. 

The Commission blamed AstraZeneca for not honouring contracts as they accused them of prioritising the UK over them. 

They have since launched legal action against the pharmaceutical firm who have always insisted the UK secured their contracts first – hence the priority. 

Some views of Politics Live criticised the Greens for appearing to justify Indian vaccine nationalism who have chosen to limit vaccine exports but damning the UK who followed a similar line. 

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