Jeremy Corbyn slams ‘rich’ countries over ‘vaccine nationalism’
The socialist has been critical of countries for failing to work together to bring the pandemic to an end. A vocal campaigner against “vaccine nationalism”, he has been critical of Britain and others for having acted selfishly in their immunisation programmes.
But the veteran MP has not spoken out about the actions of the EU.
Last month his Peace and Justice Project started a petition accusing “a handful of the richest countries, including the UK,” of blocking jabs being delivered in Africa.
The criticisms came despite the UK contributing £548million in aid to a UN-led project aimed at distributing one billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to 92 developing countries this year.
Britain was the largest donor to the COVAX scheme, contributing more than any other country.
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At the virtual launch of the Peace and Justice Project, Mr Corbyn criticised countries who have larger supplies of vaccine than the size of population.
Britain has secured 407 million doses of different coronavirus vaccines – enough to immunised the population more than three times over.
Mr Corbyn said at the launch: “Some rich countries have acquired enough doses of vaccine for their entire population to be vaccinated three times over, while nine out of 10 people in poor countries will not even receive a vaccine this year.”
Despite his remarks, the former Labour leader remained quiet as politicians at home and abroad criticised the EU for their vaccine protectionism last week.
Amid a shortage of supply of jabs in the EU, the Commission introduced emergency rules that required licences for the export of all vaccines.
It effectively gave the trade bloc the ability to ban the delivery of Pfizer jabs – made in Belgium – to non-member states.
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The UK has ordered 20 million doses of the Pfizer antidote.
The Commission also sought to trigger Article 16 of the Brexit deal’s Northern Ireland protocol that would have allowed a hard border to be introduced between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Boris Johnson, Sir Kier Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon, the DUP, Sinn Fein and Republic of Ireland government were all united in condemning the triggering of Article 16.
There was an outpouring of outrage from MPs at the plans to introduce a hard border on the island of Ireland.
However, Mr Corbyn has not spoken out on the issue.
Express.co.uk also contacted both Mr Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project and the MP’s constituency office but have not received comment on the Commission’s actions from either.
It took just a matter of hours for the European Commission to U-turn on the plan to introduce Article 16 last week, calling the decision an “oversight”.
Today the Commission’s chief spokesman Eric Mamer sought to deflect any blame from the Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
He said: “What I can tell you is that there is one cabinet which was lead on this, that is Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis because he is in charge of trade.
“This regulation falls under the responsibility of Mr Dombrovskis and his cabinet and of course the services of the commission which respond to him.”
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