LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expects the Group of Seven to agree to donate one billion Covid-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries during its summit starting today, and help inoculate the world by the end of next year.
Just hours after US President Joe Biden vowed to supercharge the battle against the coronavirus with a donation of 500 million Pfizer shots, Johnson said Britain would give at least 100m surplus vaccines to the poorest nations.
Johnson has already called on G7 leaders to commit to vaccinate the entire world by the end of 2022 and the group is expected to pledge 1bn doses during its three-day summit in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay.
Some campaign groups condemned the plan as a drop in the ocean, with Oxfam estimating that nearly 4bn people will depend on COVAX for vaccines, the programme that distributes shots to low and middle income countries.
“As a result of the success of the UK’s vaccine programme we are now in a position to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them,” Johnson will say today, according to excerpts of the announcement.
Britain has given a first dose to 77 per cent of its adult population and the US 64pc – they say the pandemic will only end once all countries have been vaccinated.
With a global population nearing 8bn and most people needing two doses, if not booster shots to tackle variants as well, campaigners said the commitments marked a start but world leaders needed to go much further, and much faster.