Pledges of hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine to poor countries are seen as an effort to counter China’s expanding vaccine diplomacy.
Group of Seven leaders pledge to donate hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the world’s poorest countries.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres criticized rich countries in February, saying the distribution was “extremely uneven and unfair” and warning of so-called “vaccine nationalism” and “vaccine hoarding.”
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic was being perpetuated by a “scandalous injustice” in the distribution of vaccines.
The pledges are also seen as an effort to counter China, which is one of the world’s largest economies, but is not part of the G7.
China has shipped vaccines to 66 countries as aid, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency, and also pledged to provide 10 million doses to COVAX, which is supported by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and the World Organization for health (WHO).
COVAX aims to secure 2 billion doses of vaccines for low-income countries by the end of 2021.
Before the new commitments this week, only 150 million doses had been promised to COVAX, well below the 250 million needed at the end of September.
Below are the G7 commitments to date:
US President Joe Biden plans to buy and donate 500 million doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in more than 90 countries. He also called on democracies around the world to do their part to help end the pandemic.
U.S. drug maker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech will deliver 200 million doses in 2021 and 300 million doses in the first half of 2022, which the United States will then distribute to 92 low-income countries and the African Union.
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two doses and should be stored at extremely low temperatures.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “the G7 will pledge to distribute vaccines to inoculate the world by the end of next year, with millions coming from UK surplus stocks”.
The UK has primarily used the AstraZeneca two-shot vaccine for its population, which was developed with the University of Oxford.
Britain has said G7 leaders should agree to provide 1 billion doses through dose sharing and funding to end the pandemic in 2022.
Johnson has pledged to donate at least 100 million excess doses of the coronavirus vaccine over the next year, including 5 million from the coming weeks.
The inexpensive and easy to transport AstraZeneca vaccine is a key component of the COVAX program.
EU – including Germany, France and Italy
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union aims to donate at least 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021 .
This includes a pledge from France and Germany to donate 30 million doses each, with Italy donating 15 million doses.
France also said it had donated 184,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in Senegal as part of the COVAX vaccine sharing program.
Japan has announced that it will donate around 30 million doses of domestically produced vaccines through COVAX.
Taiwan, which emerged relatively unscathed from the first year of the pandemic, is tackling an epidemic that started last month.
Reuters news agency reported that Canada was in talks to donate excess doses through COVAX, although it has yet to release a firm pledge of donations or indicate how much it plans to give.