Most UK adults believe COVID-19 vaccines and treatments should be distributed globally

A survey has revealed that the majority of adults in the UK believe governments need to work together to develop COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, which if effective, should be used worldwide.

COVID-19 around the world

A survey conducted with adults in the UK has revealed that the majority support ensuring patients who most need vaccines and effective treatments against COVID-19 have access to them. 

The YouGov poll, commissioned by Wellcome, reveals that more than nine in 10 (96 percent) of adults in the UK believe that national governments should work together to ensure that treatments and vaccines can be manufactured in as many countries as possible and distributed globally to everyone who requires them.

The poll of over 2,000 UK adults also revealed:  

  • Nine in 10 people (90 percent) in the UK say COVID-19 treatments and vaccines should first be provided for those who need them most in the world and over eight in 10 people (87 percent) oppose the idea that they should first be provided to those who can afford them
  • Fewer than half (44 percent) support the idea that treatments and vaccines should be first provided to those in the country in which they are first developed
  • Over eight in 10 people (83 percent) think national governments should not use treatments and vaccines to gain an upper hand in trade or diplomatic negotiations
  • Almost six in 10 (57 percent) believe that if a treatment or vaccine is first discovered in the UK it should be made available around the world as quickly as possible, even if that means some people in the UK do not receive it first.

According to Wellcome, with over 100 possible COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development, these polling results demonstrate the public support for ensuring that global efforts are made to ensure that new vaccines are made available to those who need them most.

Alex Harris, Head of Global Policy at Wellcome, said: “We need vaccines and treatments that will work for the world and any advances must be available to all countries equally, without exception. 

Equitable access cannot be achieved by one organisation or one country alone. It requires collective action on a global scale, with each country that has manufacturing capacity prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable everywhere. No country should consider reserving possible future vaccines and treatments for their use only. These results clearly show that this approach would not be supported by the people of the UK

“No matter where they are developed or who funded them, all tests, medicines and vaccines for COVID-19 need to be available and affordable to everyone in the world who needs them.”