British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) economic powers Friday that they must push to ensure the whole world gets affordable vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), while aid groups called for action rather than words from the world’s wealthy nations.
Johnson, whose country holds the G-7 presidency this year, opened a virtual summit with the leaders of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan by saying, “This is a global pandemic, and it’s no use one country being far ahead of another.”
“We’ve got to move together,” Johnson said, speaking from the prime minister’s office at London’s 10 Downing St. to the other leaders in their far-flung offices. “So, one of the things that I know that colleagues will be wanting to do is to ensure that we distribute vaccines at cost around the world.”
Wealthy nations have snapped up hundreds of millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines, while some countries in the developing world have little or none.
The British government said Johnson, whose country has reported almost 120,000 virus-related deaths, will promise to give “the majority of any future surplus vaccines” to the United Nations-backed COVAX effort to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable people, and will encourage other G-7 countries to do the same.
But Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly said it was is “difficult to say with any kind of certainty” when or how much Britain could donate.
“We’re not really able to give with certainty either a timescale or the numbers involved,” he said in a television interview.
French President Emmanuel Macron gave a firmer target, saying Europe and the US should allocate up to 5 percent of its current Covid-19 vaccine supplies to the poorest countries “very fast, so that people on the ground see it happening.”
Macron noted that Russia and China have been quick to offer doses of their own products to some African nations. SOVEREIGNPH