Falmouth: Britain said on Thursday that the G7 leaders will agree to expand global Covid vaccine production to provide at least one billion doses to the world through sharing and financing schemes.
The UK, which is hosting a gathering of big powers in southwest England, has added that it will contribute at least 100 million surplus doses within the next year, including five million starting in the coming weeks. The commitment follows increasing calls for richer countries to step up their efforts to share Covid-19 shots with less developed countries, with charities warning the current situation is leading to ‘vaccine apartheid’.
Britain, which has orders for more than 400 million doses, has been criticized for not starting to contribute to poorer countries. But on the eve of greeting world leaders from the group of seven wealthy nations to their first summit in almost two years, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised that would soon be changed.
He said, ‘As a result of the success of the UK’s vaccine program we are now in a position to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them. In doing so we will take a massive step towards beating this pandemic for good. 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.’
According to the Downing Street statement, ‘At the Summit world leaders are expected to announce they will provide at least one billion coronavirus vaccine doses to the world through dose sharing and financing and set out a plan to expand vaccine manufacturing in order to achieve that goal.’
Johnson’s office reported that the UK will grant five million doses by the end of September, beginning in the coming weeks, primarily for use in the world’s poorest countries. It also added that Britain has also assigned to distributing a further 95 million within the next year, including 25 million more by the end of 2021.
Around 80 percent of the jabs will go to the Covax plan, which aims to guarantee equal distribution of vaccines around the world, with the remainder shared bilaterally.
On Thursday, the United States announced that it would grant 500 million jabs to 92 poor and lower-middle-income nations. At the same time, EU members have agreed to donate at least 100 million doses by the end of 2021 — with France and Germany each pledging to contributing 30 million.