G7 Countries Pledge to Donate 1bn Covid-19 Vaccine Doses
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- G7 members will donate as much as 1bn vaccine doses to poorer countries
- President Biden vowed to provide 500mn of new Pfizer vaccines
Leaders of the G7 group of advanced economies are meeting in the UK today. They’re initiating a three-day summit with a key pledge to provide 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries. The move is aimed to counter criticism that wealthy western countries acquired most of the Covid-19 vaccines for themselves.
The initiative by the members of the G7 group is also a response to China and Russia, who have been selling their jabs to developing nations as a form of “vaccine diplomacy”. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting the G7 summit in Cornwall, is expected today to announce that the UK will donate 100mn surplus vaccine doses by the early summer of next year.
US President Joe Biden, after meeting earlier with Mr. Johnson, committed to purchase 500mn Covid-19 vaccine doses from BioNTech/Pfizer. The vaccines will be distributed across the poorest countries. Roughly 200mn will be donated this year, while the remaining part will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
“This is about our responsibility, our humanitarian obligation to save as many lives as we can,” President Biden said. He also took to Twitter on Thursday, after he unveiled his commitment. “Today, I’m announcing that the United States will donate half a billion new Pfizer vaccines to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries,” he stated on Twitter. “These Pfizer vaccines will save millions of lives around the world, and be produced through the power of American manufacturing.”
G7 Leaders Tackle Target Vaccination in Africa
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to push the G7 to “lift obstacles” and provide as many vaccines as possible to Africa so that the continent could reach a 40% vaccination rate by the end of the year. The other 60% of the population, according to France’s President, could be vaccinated before the second quarter of next year. Mr. Macron also mentioned that all vaccine donations made by the G7 countries would need to be “matched” by vaccine producers who would give away 10% of the amounts donated by the US and the other G7 members.
Other topics of a priority amid the discussions by members of the G7 will include climate change and the coordinated effort by the group to work toward a global economic recovery in a post-pandemic world. Earlier in the week, the group’s finance ministers already reached a deal to create a global corporate tax system. The ministers agreed to tax companies on where they do business, not where they are based. Ministers also agreed to set a global corporate minimum tax of at least 15%. The aim is to stop companies from shifting profits through low-tax countries.
The summit will set aside some time for discussions on a joint approach to tackling future pandemics. The goal of the talks would be to avoid the individual approach that was undertaken by many countries around the globe at the onset of the pandemic.
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