Jabs for children before world's poor wrong, says Pollard

Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group has said that it feels "morally wrong" that children in some richer countries are being offered a Covid-19 jab before some high-risk people in poorer countries.

Prof Pollard told the All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus the overall aim of a global vaccination programme was to stop people dying.

He said the priority groups were the over-50s, people with health conditions and also healthcare workers

Pollard said that the world was in a situation at the moment where there are many un-vaccinated people in the world but not enough doses for everyone yet. Adding that those whose risk is extremely low are being vaccinated - including children who have near to zero the risk of severe disease or death.

"That inequity is absolutely plain to see at this moment in a very troubling way as we see the images from South Asia on our televisions of the awful circumstances now - colleagues that are just facing the most appalling circumstances, they're not working in a situation where there's an NHS to support them.

"And it feels completely wrong to be in a situation morally where we were allowing that to happen, whilst in many countries vaccines are being rolled out to younger and younger populations at very, very low risk."

He added that not having vaccine equity around the world is also a risk to health security, adding: "If we have better distribution of vaccines, there is some downward pressure on variants of concern."