G7 leaders pledge 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine to poor countries

The leaders of the Group of Seven economies meeting in the United Kingdom will announce a pledge to provide one billion doses of the Corona virus to poor countries as part of a plan to “vaccinate the world” by the end of 2022.

The move, which will be set at the start of the three-day summit on Friday, aims to counter criticism that wealthy Western governments have obtained the bulk of their life-saving Covid-19 vaccines from manufacturers to immunize their populations. The pledge is also an attempt to counter “vaccine diplomacy” by Beijing and Moscow, which have been quick to sell their stings to developing countries.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting a G7 summit in Cornwall, Britain’s scenic southern tip, is set to announce Friday that the United Kingdom will donate 100 million surplus doses of the vaccine in the next 12 months, according to aides.

distance Face to face meeting with host In Carbis Bay, on the rural Corniche coast, US President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled a commitment to purchase and donate 500 million Covid-19 vaccines made by BioNTech/Pfizer to some of the world’s poorest countries. This includes 200 million this year and the rest in the first half of next year.

“This is about our humanitarian responsibility and commitment to save as many lives as possible,” Biden said.

The European Union has separately pledged to provide 100 million doses to African countries and other developing countries by the end of this year.

Pfizer Covid vaccines administered in Johannesburg, South Africa. Emmanuel Macron says he wants to pay 40% of coverage across Africa by the end of this year © Themba Hadebe/AP

Speaking at the Elysee Palace on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron said He said he would push the Group of Seven nations to “lift the hurdles” to speed up vaccination in Africa to reach an immunization rate of 40 percent by the end of this year and 60 percent by the end of the first quarter of next year.

Macron added that the Jabs donated by the United States and other G7 members should be “matched” by an additional pledge from drug makers to give up the equivalent of 10 per cent of production of their doses.

British diplomats described the Carbis Bay meeting as a “vaccine summit”, stressing that the G7 nations will articulate their rediscovered collective approach to tackling Covid-19.

Four years after the club of wealthy democracies has been virtually paralyzed by Donald Trump’s confrontational and domesticated presidency, Biden will use the G7 summit and his trip to Brussels on Monday to reassert US leadership in the democratic world as well as across the Atlantic. cooperation.

Johnson described his interaction with Biden as “a big breath of fresh air.” “There are a lot of things [we] We want to work together,” he said, citing security, NATO and climate change.

Other topics high on the agenda of the G7 – the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – include climate change, girls’ education and economic recovery.

The group’s finance ministers have already agreed to establish Global corporate tax system, although the details have not yet been fully agreed upon.

Johnson is putting the fight against Covid at the center of the summit, at which G7 leaders will gather on Friday for their first face-to-face meeting in more than a year at the boutique Carbis Bay Hotel.

“It’s the first time in a long time, they’ll get along,” said a British official. The meeting will include a Saturday night beach barbecue of lobster newlin and locally caught Cornish sparkling wine.

Johnson, the summit host, will ask G7 leaders to encourage drug companies to adopt the Oxford AstraZeneca model of providing vaccines on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic.

Downing Street said Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have already pledged to share 1.3 billion doses on a non-profit basis with developing countries.

Johnson has come under fire from lawmakers, including former Prime Minister Theresa May, for cutting Britain’s aid budget from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of national income during the pandemic.

The summit will also try to agree on a common approach to fighting future pandemics, with Johnson keen to avoid what Downing Street called a “man for himself” approach as countries scrambled to secure vital supplies at the start of the pandemic.

Johnson invited the leaders of Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea to attend, but British officials tried to back away from the idea that the G7 was expanding into a democratic, anti-China group. “This is about who we are, not who we are against,” said a British official.

For Johnson, the summit is an opportunity to put post-Brexit Britain on the world stage, but Brexit still hangs on him – particularly on the new arrangements in Northern Ireland.

Additional reporting by Victor Mallet and David Keohan in Paris

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