Covid vaccine nationalism is doomed to fail and world must work together – Kenny MacAskill MP

It’s a few weeks now since I had my jag. It was painless and psychologically liberating.

Going out hadn’t worried me before it, but there was almost a feeling of being armour plated thereafter. Of course, I largely work from home and where I go is mostly dictated by personal choice. I’m not a frontline worker in health or social care, or even in retail with all the risks they and others face. But it still brought a wee skip to my step all the same.

The worry remains though of current vaccine benefits being undone by new variants which seem to be springing up with regularity whether from Brazil, India or wherever and that, I confess, does worry me. It would be getting under my armour and undermining all the good done by so many, along with the hardships endured by us all.

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I want everyone here vaccinated but more importantly I want it to be against all strains of coronavirus. Having half the population still to be vaccinated, we can't risk having to go through it all again, even if we could quickly get a new and effective one.

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It’s why tackling Covid-19 must be a global action and vaccine nationalism’s doomed to fail. It’s one thing having Red List countries but quite another ensuring that a variant doesn’t travel. Eradicating the virus globally isn’t just humanitarian with lives in developing worlds being as valuable as ours, it's also about self-interest. If we want to minimise risk here, we’ve got to tackle Covid everywhere.

Yet statistics I read recently are alarming. By mid-February, ten of the world's richest countries possessed 75 per cent of global doses, with 130 countries having none – and we wonder why new strains have evolved?

By late March when I’d received my first inoculation, 145 of the world’s 195 countries had started a roll-out. Now, as ever, it is the richest ones going furthest and fastest with 83 per cent of vaccines administered there and only 0.2 per cent in the poorest.

A medical worker receives a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine in Aden, southern Yemen (Picture: Saleh Obaidi/AFP via Getty Images)

So, it’s in our interest to provide for poorer lands and it’s not quarantine that’ll keep us safe.

Kenny MacAskll is the Alba Party MP for East Lothian

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