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'It's a no-brainer': Bishop says G7 must agree on vaccine package to help poor

The Bishop of Hertford says the world's wealthiest countries have a moral obligation to help vaccinate their poorer neighbours.

Rt Rev Dr Michael Beasley was speaking to Premier as the G7 group of nations was meeting in London to consider a package of measures to help the most vulnerable nations battle the Coronavirus pandemic.

Bishop Michael, himself a former epidemiologist, told Premier he welcomes the move.

“This is an excellent thing that they're doing. And I hope that they will be able to come up with some great solutions that we need as a world to face the COVID pandemic. And there are lots of reasons for this. As a Christian, I draw principally on what Jesus told us, Jesus said, love our neighbours as ourselves. “

Bishop Michael says the pandemic has made us realise that we are all interconnected.

“Just as we learned that we were interconnected in the spread of the diseases, it went from China all around the world. So we need to be just as interconnected to our neighbours in terms of what we do to respond to the pandemic. And that means that we must, as a matter of our Christian duty, seek to see the whole world vaccinated. So if the G7 are getting behind that, that's brilliant.” 

But he warned that more action needs to be taken if the world is to recover from the virus.

“Whilst we know what needs to be done, there has not yet been enough action taken to provide the comprehensive solutions that are needed. So first of all, there needs to be a huge increase in capacity for vaccine production, and then a big increase in funding to pay for this to happen…… and quickly. Because the pandemic is accelerating. So are we together as a world yet? I don't think we're quite there yet. But the challenge to the G7 is to get us there. And I wish them every success.” 

The former epidemiologist told Premier it’s vital the world unites to combat the pandemic.

“It’s a no brainer to get behind global vaccine equity. If you look at how much we spent in dealing with the financial crisis in 2008, we spent $1.1 trillion - to address COVID, we need £60 billion. And the impact on world trade and the prosperity of all people in every country is massive compared to the amount of money that's needed to get this pandemic under control. So it just makes good sense, as well as being our moral duty, and what's needed for justice around the world.”

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