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Oxford Vaccine Creator Is Calling For People To Support A Global Vaccine Drive

International groups have warned over low vaccination rates in developing countries

3 min read

The co-creator of the Oxford vaccine is urging people to donate money to help boost vaccination rates in poorer countries.

Professor Sarah Gilbert has backed a new campaign which is calling on Brits to donate to the World Health Organisation's Covid-19 relief fund when they receive the date for their jab.

The Arm in Arm campaign was launched by academics at the University of East Anglia to support the WHO's solidarity fund in a bid to boost PPE provision, vaccine research and treatment for vulnerable people, including refugees.

It comes after the UK confirmed 15 million Brits had already been offered their first dose of the jab.

But major international groups, including the WHO and Amnesty International, have raised concerns that many poorer countries either have low vaccination rates or are yet to secure any stocks of the jabs at all.

Professor Gilbert said the campaign would help support boost vaccination rates, with the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab being offered for "no profit" to all countries during the pandemic.

"We produced and developed the Oxford vaccine as a vaccine for the world," she said.

"With AstraZeneca as our partner, we have produced a safe and effective vaccine that can be transported and stored using the same cold chain as many other vaccines in routine use, in large quantity and at no profit during the pandemic.

"We are happy to support a new initiative to get Covid vaccine to as many people as possible."

Meanwhile, Professor Christina Pagel, director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College London, said low vaccination rates in other parts of the world raised the likelihood of new variants developing.

"As long as Covid keeps circulating freely anywhere in the world, it has the opportunity and incentive to evolve to be able to infect those with current immunity - whether that immunity is through previous infection or vaccination," she said.

"The whole world is safer the fewer opportunities Covid has to infect people and potentially mutate. That's why this initiative supporting low and middle income countries to vaccinate their populations is not just the right thing to do morally but also the sensible thing to do for all of us."

It comes after concerns were raised earlier this year that so-called 'vaccine nationalism' was creating a race among rich nations to purchase millions of doses, leaving many developing nations without the opportunity to secure supplies.

Dr Kirstin Smith, who is organising the Arm In Arm project, said countries needed to behave as a "global community" to ensure the pandemic is beaten.

"I believe there are a lot of people who would like to support the global response, express their gratitude for being vaccinated, and join the call for fair vaccine distribution across the world," she said.

"At this moment, many are isolated. It's hard to feel connected, not only to your own society but also across international borders. But to tackle a pandemic, we have to be able to imagine a global community and act as one."

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