Covid-19 Update - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:32 pm on 15th June 2021.

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Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 1:32 pm, 15th June 2021

No, I am afraid the noble Lord completely overstates the case; I do not accept the characterisation he has made at all. The challenge is enormous, and he is right to feel that this is one of the most important tasks for humanity in the round—I cannot emphasise that enough. But the practicalities are that, in Britain, we make hardly any vaccine at all. It is not for us as a nation to manufacture the vaccine. Where we have contributed is, first, through the science—particularly the AstraZeneca vaccine—and, secondly, through global leadership. The Prime Minister, through the G7, has sought to use that post as much as he can, in order to promote the vaccine. I do not accept that China and Russia have in any way contributed anything like the West has done; the numbers simply do not support that. We are working extremely closely with the regions of the world—with Africa, South America and beyond—in order to set up the kind of manufacturing that those countries need to provide their people with the safety from the virus that they deserve.