The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that millions of Covid vaccines could be wasted if rich countries send large quantities of the remaining doses to poor countries at once.
The charity said there should be a steady supply throughout the year, because poor countries do not have the resources to use the vaccines once.
Britain and other countries have promised to donate their surplus doses – but were asked to provide more earlier.
Some stars, including Billie Eilish and David Beckham, supported UNICEF’s appeal.
Celebrities signed a letter addressed to the Group of Seven rich countries, including Britain, asking them to donate 20% of their vaccines by August.
“The epidemic will not end anywhere until it ends everywhere,” Beckham said.
Other stars who signed the letter include Andy Marie, Olivia Colman, Ewan McGregor, William Payne, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Orlando Bloom, Katy Perry, Gemma Chan, Whoopi Goldberg, Claudia Schiffer and Chris Hoy.
Lilly Caprani, UNICEF’s vaccine supervisor, told BBC Newsnight that countries needed to vaccinate their populations at the same time, as the rest of the world.
“At some point we will undoubtedly need to vaccinate those under the age of 18. But the priority at this moment should be to make sure that all vulnerable groups around the world get vaccinated,” she added.
She noted that “countries such as Britain and the Group of Seven need to donate their doses to those low-income countries now, while their populations continue to be vaccinated.”
But Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last week that vaccinating children in Britain would take priority over sending doses abroad.
Britain, unlike other countries, did not disclose the number of doses it intends to donate to the Kovacs Vaccine Sharing Program, and said that it would donate its excess doses.
Hancock said Friday that his country does not currently have any excess doses.
Earlier this week, more than 100 former prime ministers, presidents and foreign ministers urged leaders of the Group of Seven nations to pay two-thirds of the £46.6 billion needed to vaccinate low-income countries to tackle Covid.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the “truth” is that governments are “obligated to look after [شعوبها]And she will give priority to vaccinating her country first.
But he added, “You can’t be too precise about this, there may be some vaccines that we can ship in advance.”
Gordon Brown, who is also a former British prime minister, said the G7 and other rich nations “should pay their share” to help parts of Africa and Asia.
He said it should not be left to pleas to deal with a “disease that must be controlled”.
Lily Cabrane called on the G7 nations to start donating vaccines now, and throughout the summer and into the rest of the year.
“Low-income countries need a steady supply that they can distribute to health care workers,” she added.
“Providing all of these vaccines until Christmas time will cause these countries to be unable to absorb and distribute them, and they may end up wasted. We can see millions of doses of vaccines unused and they will expire, and that would be a tragedy,” she said.
In their letter, the celebrities said that UNICEF was already providing vaccines in poor countries, but the charity was short of 190 million doses.
The letter said that G7 countries – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – would soon have enough to donate 20 percent of their doses between June and August without much delay in their countries receiving their vaccines. This means more than 150 million doses have been delivered to Kovacs.
And the letter to the Group of Seven states that the virus is still spreading in many countries, producing new types that are likely to bring us all back to the point from which we started.
Some celebrities, such as tennis star Marie, have urged people in Britain to donate to UNICEF’s “VaccinAid” appeal.
Some countries, such as the United Kingdom, have requested 400 million doses of different vaccines, and have already managed to vaccinate a large proportion of their citizens.
But other countries are still waiting for their first shipments to arrive. Many poor countries depend on receiving doses from Kovacs.
At the G7 summit later this week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to push for a goal to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022.
Activists and critics – as well as a group of MPs – say action must be taken now, and Britain should donate a dose for every vaccine injection Britain imports.
The UK government has already donated £548 million in aid to the Kovacs project, and other countries have requested half a billion doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine sent abroad.
Leaders of the Group of Seven nations gather in Cornwall for the annual summit this weekend.
The United States, France, Germany, Italy and Japan have announced the number of doses they will donate to Kovacs, as has Britain, but Canada has not yet determined the number of its intended contribution.