'Vaccinate the world, build on COP26 – and get Nazanin home'

André Langlois, editor

André Langlois, editor - Credit: Polly Hancock

It was ever thus, but the government has some hefty tasks ahead in 2022, and it cannot continue on the paths it’s on. 

It looks like the dreaded Omicron is less to be dreaded than was feared. That’s not to say all is well, but we may (and I mean “may”) not see intensive care units bursting at the seams. 

But even in the best-case scenario of this variant, this would not be the end of it. 

While the world remains unvaccinated, Covid will circulate and mutate – reduce circulation and you reduce mutations. 

But the world isn’t vaccinated. Richer countries are and poorer, populous countries aren’t. 

Calls for a patent waiver have been rejected and the Covax scheme has failed. Analysis of World Health Organisation data by the Independent shows that poorer countries are paying way above the odds for Covid vaccines. 

That intellectual property rights trump millions of lives in a health emergency is sickening, but it is also counterproductive. By not vaccinating the world, everyone loses. 

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We need a complete rethink. 

Everyone also loses if this year’s flurry of COP26-mania fades into collective nostalgia like fidget spinners, and cheese and pineapple on cocktails sticks. 

The small steps of the climate conference, can only be seen as a success if there is a steep upward curve in climate action.

Gabriella and Richard Ratcliffe at Carols for Nazanin

Gabriella and Richard Ratcliffe at Carols for Nazanin - Credit: Polly Hancock

Closer to home, the government must bring Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe back from Iran. Under the original sham sentencing, the West Hampstead mum should have been home this year. And yet a further charge appeared from nowhere. 

Few seem to argue that Nazanin’s plight is unconnected to the £400 million debt owed to Iran by this country.

Yet all the lawyers at its disposal seem incapable of coming up with a way to pay a debt the government admits it owes. 

Don’t let this remain unresolved next Christmas.

André Langlois is editor of the Ham&High.