The former prime minister is today calling on the G7 nations to commit £22 billion a year towards a “Herculean” global vaccination programme.
He warned that immunising the West but only a fraction of the developing world is already fuelling allegations of “vaccine apartheid”.
He also revealed that he had spoken to Sir Bob about Live Aid in the 1980s, which is estimated to have raised more than £150 million for famine relief through its concerts starring Queen, David Bowie, U2, Madonna, Bryan Adams, Tina Turner and Mick Jagger.
The former Labour prime minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I talked to Bob Geldof yesterday about the strength that Live Aid brought in the 1980s and you need that kind of popular campaign with the People’s Vaccine Alliance and others coming on board.
“And I think you’ll see in the next few weeks a campaign with the same urgency and moral force of Make Poverty History building up so that people say look it is simply unfair.
“It’s actually a form of apartheid that only one part of the world is getting the vaccines and the other part is not and only one per cent of sub-Saharan Africa has been vaccinated at the moment where of course it is 60 to 70 per cent of adults in Britain.
“So we’ve got to bridge that gap and we’ve got to do it quickly otherwise the disease spreads, it hurts you and me and all our families as well as hurts the countries that are the poorest of all.”
Mr Brown said the UK’s current plan to donate surplus vaccines to poorer countries was “vaccine diplomacy” and involved giving supply to “favoured friends”.
Instead, he said there should be a “fair system” in which the cost is covered by an “equitable burden sharing” between those countries donating vaccines.
He added: “No-one is going to be safe anywhere until everybody is safe everywhere. If we can’t vaccinate in 2021 or in 2022 or 2023 in the poorest countries the disease is going to spread, it’s going to mutate, it’s going to come back to destroy lives and livelihoods in our own country.
“So it is not an act of charity to do this, it’s in our national self-interest and there’s economic gain and of course lives are saved.”
He said mass vaccination of the world should be the primary focus of the G7 summit, which starts on June 11 in Cornwall.
US president Joe Biden is expected to attend the event, along with the other G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the EU.