The Group of Seven nations (G7) are expected to agree to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries across the globe during its summit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
The British leader made the announcement, asserting that half of the doses would come from the US and at least 100 million from the UK are set to commit to sharing at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with the world, as the American President Joe Biden urged allies to join in speeding the pandemic’s end and bolstering the strategic position of the world’s wealthiest democracies.
Just hours after President Biden vowed to accelerate the battle against coronavirus with a donation of 500 million Pfizer shots, Mr. Johnson said Britain would give at least 100 million surplus vaccines to the poorest nations. The UK will donate 5 million doses by the end of September, beginning in the coming weeks, primarily for use in the world’s poorest countries.
Mr. Johnson has also committed to donating a further 95 million doses within the next year, including 25 million more by the end of 2021. A total of 80 percent of the 100 million doses will go to COVAX, a program led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the remainder will be shared bilaterally with countries in need.
Calling on the other members of the G7 to follow the UK’s lead, Mr. Johnson said, “At the G7 Summit I hope my fellow leaders will make similar pledges so that, together, we can vaccinate the world by the end of next year and build back better from coronavirus.”
“The G7’s aim to provide 1 billion doses should be seen as an absolute minimum, and the timeframe needs to speed up. We’re in a race with this virus and the longer it’s in the lead the greater the risk of new, more dangerous variants undermining global progress,” said Lis Wallace at anti-poverty campaign group ONE.
Leaving the poorer countries to deal with the pandemic alone will bring the risk of allowing the virus to further mutate and evade vaccines. Expert groups have also said that logistical support will be needed to help administer large numbers of vaccines in several countries.