Dr Michael Beasley, Bishop of Hertford and an epidemiologist, writes of the urgent need to vaccinate the world on the first anniversary of vaccines being administered in the United Kingdom.
It’s amazing to salute all that’s been achieved in the last year of COVID vaccinations in the UK.
Yet even as we give thanks for this success, the arrival of Omicron - a variant of the virus that was first identified thousands of miles away, has underlined once again that caring for everyone’s health, wherever they may be, is not just a matter of justice, it’s also in our own self interest.
Every time a person is infected with COVID around the world, the probability increases that new mutations of the virus will happen and make it to our shores.
Such variants, like Omicron, carry the risk of being able to evade our vaccines or cause serious illness.
Vaccinating everyone would act dramatically to reduce this risk. Yet our record to date is lamentable.
Despite the fact that by the end of this year 12 billion doses of vaccines will have been produced – enough to vaccinate every adult in the world - 95 per cent of adults in low income countries remain unprotected.
We must act now to change this picture and demand vaccine equity across our globe. ‘None of us are safe until we’re all safe’.