The leaders of the Group of Seven nations have pledged over 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for the rest of the world – either directly or through funding to COVAX, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced.
U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had used the G7 summit in England to announce the donation of 500 million and 100 million vaccines respectively for the world’s poorest nations.
While the head of the United Nations welcomed the move, even he said more was needed. Antonio Guterres the ninth secretary-general of the United Nations warned that if people in developing countries were not inoculated quickly, the virus could mutate further and become resistant to the new vaccines. “We need more than that,” he said of the G7 plan. “We need a global vaccination plan. We need to act with a logic, with a sense of urgency, and with the priorities of a war economy, and we are still far from getting that.”
British foreign minister Dominic Raab warned that other countries were using vaccines as diplomatic tools to secure influence. As most people need two vaccine doses, and possibly booster shots to tackle emerging variants, charity Oxfam said the world would need 11 billion doses to end the pandemic.
Oxfam also called on G7 leaders to support a waiver on the intellectual property behind the vaccines.
But the pharmaceutical industry has opposed it, saying it would stifle innovation and do little to increase supplies. Britain, which backed Oxford-AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) not-for-profit shot, has said a patent waiver is not necessary.
PM Narendra Modi called for global unity, leadership, and solidarity to prevent future pandemics and sought the support of the G7 grouping to lift patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines.
PM Modi called for adopting a “one earth, one health” approach to effectively deal with the coronavirus pandemic globally. “The prime minister committed India’s support for collective endeavours to improve global health governance. He sought the G7’s support for the proposal moved at the WTO by India and South Africa for a TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waiver on Covid related technologies,” the statement said.