Julia Hartley-Brewer calls on China to pay for international vaccines
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Julia Hartley-Brewer discussed the COVAX scheme which aims to provide a vaccination supply guarantee to less economically developed countries. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the UK will provide half-a-billion pounds to the programme with Ms Hartley-Brewer wondering why China does not pay for it. The Eastern country is part of the scheme but has not disclosed how much it is contributing, meanwhile, the US has pledged $4billion and the UK’s contribution will help distribute a billion vaccines which left the radio host pondering why everyone else should be left with the bill.
Speaking to Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood on talkRADIO, Ms Hartley-Brewer said: “I’m saying I wonder why British taxpayers should be funding, and I’m all in favour of us doing it if that’s what’s necessary, but why should your British taxpayers be funding the rollout of a vaccine across the world.
“Surely all of these G7 nations and others should be demanding that China pays the bill?”
Mr Ellwood replied: “Yes, absolutely right, but then again this is the sort of collected demands we can make.
“What we’ve seen with China is they pick off countries have one by one.
“Australia did, they suggested there should be an investigation into the outbreak itself, who was patient zero, where was ground zero.
“And they had tariffs imposed on them, if we’re gonna stand up to China we must do it collectively.
“And the one body that now has that power is the G7 and even further if you take it to G10.
“I do agree with you, there will be taxpayers saying ‘why should we do this’ and only if it’s brought up and we step forward and show an example can we get other nations, including groups of nations such as the EU, to follow us.”
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Ms Hartley-Brewer quipped that China was likely to get away with it regardless as no one will stand up to them.
The COVAX scheme is a World Health Organisation initiative that pools international government resources to guarantee a vaccine supply to every country.
Pharmaceutical companies have signed up for the measure, including three new Chinese businesses who are promising ten million vaccinations.
In Australia, relationships with China have soured as the country imposed harsh tariffs on Ozzy wine in November which they say is due to cheap wine damaging Chinese businesses.
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However, winemakers down under claim it is due to the worsening relationship between the two nations which was ignited by Australia’s demands to investigate the coronavirus outbreak more severely in China.
Some have criticised the COVAX programme as being too slow as some countries have been left to look elsewhere for their vaccine supply.
In Serbia, contracts were signed directly with providers in Russia, China and North America as they were fed up waiting for doses from COVAX and the EU.
As a result, the Balkan country has one of the best vaccination population rates in Europe only falling behind the UK, according to the latest figures.
The G7 will be held in Cornwall on June 11 as Prime Minister Boris Johnson will promise vaccine surplus in the UK would be given to other countries at a meeting with members later today.
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