AROUND 100 million doses of Covid vaccine held in western countries could be “wasted” within weeks instead of being sent to places in dire need, Gordon Brown has warned.

He said Britain’s record in particular was “not very good”, with only 11 per cent of the vaccines promised for poorer countries under the Covax scheme delivered so far.

“If you waste a vaccine, you’re actually putting a life at risk,” he said.

The former Prime Minister, who is now an ambassador for global health financing for the World Health Organisation, said only 7% of Africa had yet been vaccinated.

A lack of testing there also meant a lag in detecting cases and possible variants.

Mr Brown said it was imperative that western countries who had stockpiled vaccines that  now can’t be used distribute them to help the global effort against Covid.

He has previously warned failure to vaccinate Africa will come back to "haunt" the west. 

The worrying new Omicron strain appears to have originated in Southern Africa.

Mr Brown told Sky News: “We’ve got to get vaccines out to the rest of the world

“There are probably about 100 million vaccines in the West that will be wasted by the end of the year because they’re not going to be used.

“And I think people hate waste and hate the idea that vaccines will pass the expiry date and not be used.”

On the issue of richer nations shipping vaccine “leftovers” on the brink of their expiry date, he added: “We’re producing soon 2billion vaccines a month across the world.

"There’s going to be no difficulty about countries being able to get hold of them if they’re rich enough to be able to afford them over the next few months.

“If we have excess supply, and we know we’re not going to use them in the next few months, then we should get them out as quickly as possible.

“If you waste a vaccine, you’re actually putting a life at risk.”

Mr Brown, who was labour PM from 2007 to 2010, urged the G7 nations to agree a month-by-month vaccine and testing plan for Africa when they meet today.

He also said today’s World Health Assembly “should agree on a new treaty so that we can prevent pandemics and deal with them properly in the years to come”.

Asked about Britain’s contributions to the global vaccine distribution scheme Covax, Mr Brown added: “Boris Johnson said on Saturday that Britain was leading the way – we offered 100 million vaccines. We’ve provided only 11% of them so far.

“America has offered a billion vaccines and provided 25% and even that’s not enough, so Britain’s record is not very good.

“And when Boris Johnson said on Saturday that the real problem in Africa was that people were not taking up the vaccines, he was wrong because the real problem in Africa, the biggest problem, is the lack of supply.

“It doesn’t help us when there has been a collective failure to get vaccines out to everybody in the world. Everybody should have access to this vaccine.”