Greta Thunberg protests against inequalities in access to vaccines against Covid-19 between rich and poor countries. The Swedish activist, a figure in the fight against climate change, said on Friday, April 9, that she did not intend to attend the major COP26 climate conference in Glasgow (Scotland) in November “if the situation continues as it is today”.

The young woman, who celebrated her 18th birthday in early January, called on the British government to postpone the COP26 again, already postponed for the first time because of the health situation if the vaccine inequalities between countries did not allow equal access of participants and activists.

She, therefore, called on rich countries to share their doses with populations at risk in poor countries “rather than vaccinating healthy young people”. “If this is not possible, I suggest postponing [COP26] so that everyone can participate in the same conditions,” she told AFP, confirming information from the BBC. “Inequalities in the face of the climate crisis are such a glaring subject that it would only deepen this aspect” if the COP26 was maintained, she pleaded.

The risks of “vaccine nationalism”

However, the young Swede does not rule out reversing her decision if the vaccine inequality is reduced, she stressed. “Of course, I would love to participate in COP26, but only if everyone is on an equal footing,” she said, echoing the World Health Organization (WHO), which does not cease to alert on the health risks posed by the different rates of vaccination between rich and poor countries, and calling for a reduction in “vaccine nationalism”.

At least 708.4 million doses of anti-Covid vaccines have been administered worldwide, according to a count made Thursday by AFP from official sources. But strong inequalities remain between high-income countries, which concentrate almost half of the doses administered, and low-income countries, where only 0.1% of the doses were administered.

Africa remains “on the margins”, with only “2% of vaccines administered in the world,” lamented WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti on Thursday. Amnesty International has denounced the “virtual monopoly” of rich countries on vaccines.