Richer countries could attempt to “monopolise” a coronavirus vaccine, Professor Robin Shattock, the leading scientist of Imperial University’s trials, has warned. The expert spoke to Express.co.uk about how the vaccine could be administered fairly throughout the planet. He pointed to global organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) as effective tools to mitigate this outcome.
Professor Shattock said: “If you think about the global picture where there are billions of people that require vaccines, scaling it up and having the distribution to get it to everywhere in the world is a massive undertaking, particularly starting from nothing.
“I think there’s already a concern that the rich countries may be able to monopolise getting doses of the vaccine for their countries before less well-off countries can access the technology.
“I think there will be a very important role for players like the World Bank and WHO to bring pressure on making sure that vaccines are provided globally.
“They shouldn’t be prioritised by the size of your economy and what you can afford.”
The scientist contrasted the effort to distribute a vaccine to the world with the UK’s own domestic efforts.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think with the UK, it’s very practical, particularly because we have such a good health service.
“It would be run through the health service, through the NHS, through local GP surgeries.
“I can well imagine that there would be some innovative drive to have vaccination centres that could get as many people vaccinated as possible.”
Professor Shattock added: “We know that there’s going to be enough of our vaccine and enough of the Oxford vaccine if either work to provide a dose for every member of the UK population.
“But that’s a drop in the ocean compared to the global picture.”
Neither Imperial nor Oxford have confirmed a successful vaccine yet, although they have both entered into the human trial phase.
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Russia has now become the first country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine.
Leader Vladimir Putin said a locally developed one has been given regulatory approval after less than two months of testing on humans.
The move has sparked concern that the country is putting national prestige before science and safety.
The human trial phase should typically last for months and involve thousands of volunteers.
However, Russia claim the vaccine has passed all the required checks and will start being mass distributed in October.
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