Thursday Sep 29, 2022
Thursday Sep 29, 2022

G-7 nations gather to pledge 1B vaccine doses for world


Nepalnews
2021 Jun 11, 18:00, CARBIS BAY
President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talk as they look over copies of the Atlantic Charter, during a bilateral meeting ahead of the G-7 summit, Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Carbis Bay, England. The Atlantic Charter is a copy of the original 1941 statement signed by FDR and Winston Churchill. (AP Photo)

Leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are set to commit at their summit to sharing at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with struggling countries around the world — half the doses coming from the US and 100 million from the UK

Vaccine sharing commitments from US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set the stage for the G-7 meeting in southwest England, where leaders will pivot Friday from opening greetings and a “family photo” directly into a session on “Building Back Better From COVID-19.”

“We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners,” Biden said. The G-7 also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

The leaders hope the meeting in the resort of Carbis Bay will also energize the global economy. On Friday, they are set to formally embrace a global minimum tax of at least 15 per cent on corporations, following an agreement reached a week ago by their finance ministers. The minimum is meant to stop companies from using tax havens and other tools to avoid taxes.

Biden said the US will donate 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and previewed a coordinated effort by the advanced economies to make vaccination widely and speedily available everywhere. The commitment was on top of 80 million doses Biden has already pledged to donate by the end of June.

Johnson, for his part, said the first 5 million UK doses would be shared in the coming weeks, with the remainder coming over the next year. He said he expected the G-7 to commit to 1 billion doses in all.

“At the G-7 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,” Johnson said in a statement, referencing a slogan that he and Biden have both used.



French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron arrive at Cornwall Airport in Newquay, England, Friday June 11, 2021, ahead of the G7 summit. Leaders of the G7 begin their first of three days of meetings on Friday in Carbis Bay, in which they will discuss COVID-19, climate, foreign policy and the economy. (Photo via AP)
French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron arrive at Cornwall Airport in Newquay, England, Friday June 11, 2021, ahead of the G7 summit. Leaders of the G7 begin their first of three days of meetings on Friday in Carbis Bay, in which they will discuss COVID-19, climate, foreign policy and the economy. (Photo via AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the US commitment and said Europe should do the same. He said France would share at least 30 million doses globally by year’s end.

Biden predicted the US doses and the overall G-7 commitment would “supercharge” the global vaccination campaign, adding that the US doses come with no strings attached.

The US commitment is to buy and donate 500 million Pfizer doses for distribution through the global COVAX alliance to 92 lower-income countries and the African Union, bringing the first steady supply of mRNA vaccine to the countries that need it most.

Biden said the US-manufactured doses will be shipped starting in August, with the goal of distributing 200 million by the end of the year. The remaining 300 million doses would be shipped in the first half of 2022. A price tag for the doses was not released, but the US is now set to be COVAX’s largest vaccine donor in addition to its single largest funder with a $4 billion commitment.

Humanitarian workers welcomed the donation — but said the world needs more doses and they were hoping they would arrive sooner. Grand statements and promises need to be met with detailed plans backed by timelines for delivery, starting immediately.

“If we have a stop-start supply or if we store all the supply up for the end of the year, it’s very hard for low-income countries with quite fragile health care systems to then really be able to get those vaccines off the tarmac and into the arms of health care workers,” said Lily Caprani, the head of COVID-19 vaccine advocacy at UNICEF. “We want a coordinated, time-bound, ambitious commitment starting from June and charting the course for the rest of the year.”



U.S. President Joe Biden poses for a picture during a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (not pictured) ahead of the G7 summit Carbis Bay Hotel, Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, Thursday June 10, 2021. (Photo via AP)
U.S. President Joe Biden poses for a picture during a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (not pictured) ahead of the G7 summit Carbis Bay Hotel, Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, Thursday June 10, 2021. (Photo via AP)

The global COVAX alliance has faced a slow start to its vaccination campaign, as richer nations have locked up billions of doses through contracts directly with drug manufacturers. The alliance has distributed just 81 million doses globally and parts of the world, particularly in Africa, remain vaccine deserts.

So far, among the G-7 countries, only France has begun shipping vaccines through COVAX, according to one of the initiative’s leaders, vaccine alliance Gavi. France has delivered a total of 628,800 doses to seven African countries — with Senegal, a former French colony, receiving about 30 per cent of that total.

Biden said Thursday that some of the 80 million doses the US had previously committed to donating — some of them outside of COVAX — were already shipping. The US has also given a few million vaccines to neighbours Mexico and Canada.

Biden’s latest move, officials said, was meant to ensure a substantial amount of manufacturing capacity remains open to the wealthy nations. Just last month, the European Commission signed an agreement to purchase as many as 1.8 billion Pfizer doses in the next two years, a significant share of the company’s upcoming production — though the bloc reserved the right to donate some of its doses to COVAX.

White House officials said the ramped-up distribution program fits a theme Biden plans to hit frequently during his week in Europe: that Western democracies, and not authoritarian states, can deliver the most good for the world.

China and Russia have shared their domestically produced vaccines with some needy countries, often with hidden strings attached. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden “does want to show — rallying the rest of the world’s democracies — that democracies are the countries that can best deliver solutions for people everywhere.”

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Joe Biden France England Europe Africa G-7 Summit coronavirus vaccine coronavirus pandemic Boris Johnson
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