Uh oh, you are using an old web browser that we no longer support. Some of this website's features may not work correctly because of this. Learn about updating to a more modern browser here.

Skip To Content


Call comes as threat of EU export ban recedes

Today, a coalition of top health and development organisations have issued a joint letter urging the UK Government to go further and faster to ensure global access to COVID-19 vaccines. 

The letter comes after yesterday’s EUCO meeting, in which EU leaders agreed not to block vaccine exports, reducing the threat to British vaccine supplies and allowing the UK to continue a rapid vaccine rollout that has already seen more than half of adults receive at least one dose.

The letter, signed by Wellcome, The ONE campaign, Save the Children UK, The Pandemic Action Network, RESULTS UK and Global Citizen calls on the Prime Minister to accelerate global dose sharing as “the quickest way to end the pandemic”. The letter coincides with a similar intervention from US civil society organisations to President Biden, and calls for the global approach to happen in parallel with the domestic vaccine rollout. 

Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome , said: 

“The UK has made unprecedented strides with its national vaccine rollout and a significant contribution to the global vaccine effort. But once we’ve vaccinated every person, we’ll still have contractual access to at least 100 million surplus doses. These won’t be of use in the UK. This is why the UK Government must start sharing doses with those most in need globally, setting out a clear timetable for when this will happen. Doses should be shared through COVAX, in parallel to national campaigns and in addition to funding COVAX.

“Now is the time to think beyond our borders. The world won’t be safe while any single country is still fighting the virus. If left to spread, it risks mutating to an extent where our vaccines and treatments no longer work. This goes beyond ethics – it’s a scientific and economic imperative. Science has given us the exit strategy. We must use it properly.”

By 15th April all nine priority groups (representing 99% of COVID-19 mortality risk in the UK) will have received at least one dose. Such is the success of the UK’s vaccine strategy, that even after the entire population has been given both doses of the vaccine, Britain could potentially have an excess of over 100million doses in advance orders (1), putting it in a strong position to support global vaccination efforts.

Romilly Greenhill, UK Director of ONE, said: 

“We saw this week how critical international cooperation is to the supply of the vaccines needed to end this pandemic. With the threat of an export ban on vaccines abated, the Government now has no excuse not to be more clear about plans to share doses. The best antidote to vaccine nationalism is a genuine global strategy to vaccinate the world.

“Getting these life-saving vaccines everywhere is as important to people in Doncaster as it is for families in Dhaka. We will only crack the Pandemic Crisis at home if we defeat the virus in every corner of the planet, otherwise there is a real chance of dangerous new strains emerging that increase the risk to all of us. So until we get vaccines everywhere, the pandemic isn’t going anywhere.”

Although the signatories praise UK leadership to date on the global pandemic response, they also warn that by not having a roadmap in place for sharing doses, the Government could be contributing to lengthening the duration of the global pandemic. The government is urged to lead efforts to deliver global vaccine access this year and to use its presidency of this year’s G7 Presidency to marshal rich nations to properly drive the global response to the pandemic. 

Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children, said

“The current diplomatic landscape, dominated by vaccine nationalism, protectionism and tension, is good for no-one. It will only prolong the pandemic and risk the emergence of dangerous variants. 

“As G7 president the UK should lead by example and help the international community back towards a response built on fairness and solidarity, where everyone does their bit and everyone benefits. That means urgently sharing some advance orders of vaccines with the poorest countries, and with no bill attached.”

The steps the Government must now take, as outlined in the letter, are:

  •  The UK must start sharing doses with COVAX immediately, and should publish a clear roadmap for how these donations will be increased in the coming months.
  •  Doses that have already been bought must be donated for free, not sold on to COVAX. The value of donated doses must count as additional to the currently reduced UK aid budget of 0.5% GNI.  (2)
  •  Lead by example through the G7 Presidency and make a collective G7 commitment to rapidly share surplus vaccine doses via COVAX by donation and in parallel with domestic vaccine rollout a key outcome of the G7 Leaders’ Summit in June.



+44 7831 650409

  1. For more info, please click here: https://www.one.org/international/blog/rich-countries-purchasing-1-billion-excess-covid-vaccines/
  2. The value of donated doses must be additional to the UK spending 0.5% of GNI on ODA, and to any future pledges to ACT-A. At the time of the Autumn Statement the purchase of these vaccines had already been budgeted for. Therefore the value of the UK’s surplus vaccine supply should be additional to the reduced ODA budget (0.5% of GNI) and not drawn from it.