Kathmandu: Amnesty International and actor Michael Palin have urgently called on the UK government to redistribute Covid-19 vaccines to ensure that those most at risk can receive a life-saving jab as Nepal and many other countries continue to battle the pandemic.
Michael Palin, who has joined Amnesty International’s urgent call said, “Having traveled in Nepal and met so many of their people, I am devastated that more than a million lives in Nepal are at risk. I am calling on the UK government to share its vaccine supply immediately with Nepal and other countries where those most at-risk have yet to have access to Covid-19 vaccines.”
In Nepal, more than 1.4 million at-risk people received their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in March and were due their second jab in early June.
However, expected supplies did not reach the country due to the global shortage of vaccines so this deadline was extended to July. Following an appeal to the international community, Japan has committed to filling this gap. But unless the world does more, the lack of access to Covid-19 vaccines will continue to put Nepal and many other countries behind in the fight against Covid-19, said Amnesty International in a statement.
Agnès Callamard Secretary General of Amnesty International said “The UK has already fully immunized more than 50% of its population is roughly six months. In contrast, Nepal has only been able to fully vaccinate 3.97% of its population and has not received deliveries as scheduled amid another deadly wave of infections. These figures paint a stark picture of unforgivable inequality. Wealthy nations cannot simply keep turning a blind eye, as their neighbor’s house burns down. We aren’t talking in abstracts – we are talking about people’s rights to life.”
Amnesty International has called on the international community, particularly wealthier countries such as the UK to urgently share unused vaccine doses and take other concrete measures to seriously tackle global vaccine inequality.