The U.K. will start vaccinating some delegates from developing countries ahead of November’s COP26 climate talks, amid growing concerns about the impact of vaccine inequality on the summit.
A spokesperson for COP26 said delegates from poorer countries who would otherwise be unable to get vaccines would receive their invitations for appointments shortly.
“We are working tirelessly with our partners, including the U.N., to get vaccines to those that need them in time for the summit,” the spokesperson said.
The vaccines would be authorized on the basis of a four-week gap between doses, leaving just enough time for delegates to reach full inoculation before the conference starts on November 1.
COP26 president Alok Sharma has been adamant that the conference be held in person and pledged it would be the “most inclusive COP ever.”
A coalition of NGOs today warned the summit risks being “the most exclusionary COP ever,” raising concerns about vaccine access and “expensive quarantine and accommodation and discriminatory visa issues” that could exclude delegates from “red-listed countries often on the front lines of the crisis.”
The U.K. government did not say how many vaccines will be handed out, nor in which countries. A COP26 spokesperson said a decision on funding hotel quarantine for some delegates would be communicated soon.