THE UK ranks near the bottom of the list of rich countries supporting the rollout of coronavirus vaccines to the global south, it has been revealed.

It is 17th out of the G20 countries listed in the Covid vaccine league table, sparking calls for Westminster to step up its response.

According to the World Health Organisation, six adults are receiving their booster shots in middle-and high-income countries for every one adult in a low-income country receiving their first course of a vaccine.

The Covid vaccine equity index ranks South Africa at the top although still providing only 70% of what the Christian Aid charity and the People’s Vaccine Alliance expect governments to do to support vaccine equity.

Sally Foster-Fulton, head of Christian Aid Scotland, said it was in everyone’s interests, at home and abroad, for universal access to the vaccines.

“This research shows how far the UK Government still has to go to help make this happen,” she said.

“Here in Scotland we welcome the First Minister’s support for the intellectual property waiver, which is such a key part of what is needed, and we hope this encourages the UK Government to take a similar view.”

A waiver on intellectual property would allow vaccine producers in the global south to manufacture vaccines without fear of legal repercussions from big Pharma.

Nicola Sturgeon has urged UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to end the UK Government’s opposition to an intellectual property waiver.

READ MORE: End UK opposition to vaccine patent waivers, Nicola Sturgeon tells Boris Johnson

The charity’s interim chief executive, Patrick Watt, said the failure to roll out vaccines globally was destroying lives and slowing economic recovery.

“It doesn’t need to be this way, but as shown by our comprehensive index, no one rich country is doing nearly enough to promote global vaccine equity, and certainly not the United Kingdom,” he said.

“The best way to reduce the risk of vaccine-resistant variants is by ensuring universal access to vaccines. However, a lack of leadership has created a world of ‘have jabs and have nots’.

“Rich countries have an obligation to remove the barriers preventing the rapid rollout of vaccines in the global south. That means urgently waiving patents, which the UK has shamefully opposed, priority for healthcare and a debt cancellation package."

He added: “It is not promises that people need, it is vaccines. We must act on these lessons in real time in order to recover from the pandemic.”