MPs blast 'send jabs abroad' demand from World Trade Organisation

MPs blast 'send jabs abroad' demand from World Trade Organisation

February 25, 2021

MPs blast ‘send jabs abroad’ demand after the new head of the World Trade Organisation called for rich countries to send vaccines to poorer nations ‘now’

  • WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: ‘I don’t think we should wait to get surplus’ 
  • MPs reacted by arguing that Government’s first duty is to protect its own people
  • Boris Johnson has already pledged to donate most of UK’s surplus at a later date

The new head of the World Trade Organisation has demanded that rich countries donate Covid vaccines to poorer nations ‘now’ rather than waiting until all their citizens are inoculated.

But MPs reacted to her comments by arguing that the Government’s first duty is to protect its own people – with one calling the suggestion ‘absolute folly’. 

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: ‘I don’t think we should wait to get surplus when other people have been served.’

The new head of the World Trade Organisation Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (pictured) has demanded that rich countries donate Covid vaccines to poorer nations ‘now’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already pledged to donate most of the UK’s surplus supply to poorer nations but has not revealed a timetable for when this might happen.

But MP Peter Bone said it would be ‘absolute folly’ to send jabs abroad before all Britons were vaccinated ‘because the Government would not then be doing its first duty which is to protect its own citizens.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) has already pledged to donate most of the UK’s surplus supply to poorer nations but has not revealed a timetable for when this might happen

He said the WTO chief should be welcoming the fact that the UK had done so well with its own vaccination programme and had ordered supplies which would be distributed to the rest of the world.

Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly has said that the UK would be looking to give away ‘significantly more’ than four to five per cent of its surplus supply. 

This is the target French President Emmanuel Macron has set for France.

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