British experts have accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of taking a reckless approach by lifting all Plan B restrictions and failing to take action to secure vaccines to 3 billion people in poor countries.
More than 300 leading scientists, health experts and academics said in a letter to the British government that “Johnson’s failure to take sufficient action to boost vaccination levels worldwide means that the novel coronavirus mutant is likely to put thousands of lives at risk across the UK.”
They added: “We are writing to you as scientists, academics and public health experts.
We are concerned about the emergence of the Omicron mutant and the threat that future mutations may pose to public health, NHS services and the UK immunization Programme.”
The experts stressed that “vaccinating the vast majority of the world’s population is the best way to prevent the emergence of mutations from the COVID-19.
The UK has provided booster doses to up to 1 million people daily, but more than 3 billion people worldwide have yet to receive their first dose. More boosters have been delivered in rich countries than the total number of all doses given so far in poor countries.”
The signatories to the letter urged Johnson to put public health above the interests of the pharmaceutical industry to “prevent another year of uncertainty and tragedy” by supporting international efforts to suspend intellectual property rules that prevent low-income countries from manufacturing vaccines, tests and treatments.