Historic G7 Billion Covid Vaccine Donation Falls Short of Need

FALMOUTH, Cornwall, UK, June 12, 2021 (ENS) – Hosted by the UK, the Group of Seven Leaders’ Summit this weekend in Cornwall aims to unite the wealthiest democracies to help the world build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic and create a greener, more prosperous future.

The seven G7 countries meeting at Cornwall’s Carbis Bay, their first in-person meeting since 2019, are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States. Represented jointly by the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, the EU participates in all discussions as a guest. The UK has also invited leaders from Australia, India, South Africa, and South Korea to attend the Leaders’ Summit as guest countries.

The United States held the G7 Presidency in 2020 but did not convene a Leaders’ Summit due to the global pandemic. The 2019 G7 Leaders’ Summit took place in France in August 2019.

This year, the G7 is addressing the COVID-19 pandemic as a matter of urgency.

On Saturday, the G-7 leaders will sign the Carbis Bay Declaration on health, committing to use all their resources to prevent a global pandemic from ever happening again.

G7 Leaders Plenary Session “Building Back Better from COVID19” at the Carbis Bay hotel during the G7 Summit in Cornwall, UK, June 11, 2021.
(Photo by Karwai Tang/G7 Cornwall 2021)

The UK will establish a new center to develop vaccines to prevent zoonotic diseases spreading from animals to humans.

Leaders from the G7 and guest countries will be joined by Sir Patrick Vallance and Melinda French Gates who will present their “100 day mission” to speed up the time it takes to develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.

On Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden welcomed the historic commitment of the leaders of the G7 and guest countries to provide more than one billion additional COVID-19 vaccines for the world, starting this summer, of which the United States will contribute half – 500 million doses.

Speaking at Tregenna Castle Resort in Cornwall on Thursday evening, President Biden said, “These half a billion vaccines will start to be shipped in August as quickly as they roll off the manufacturing line. Two hundred million of these doses will be delivered this year, in 2021, and 300 million more will be delivered in the first half of 2022.”

“Let me be clear,” Biden said, “Just as with the 80 million doses we previously announced, the United States is providing these half million [billion] doses with no strings attached. Our vaccine donations don’t include pressure for favors or potential concessions.  We’re doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic.  That’s it.  Period.” 

But the G7 plan has run into headwinds right away. The pledge to donate one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to low-income countries falls far short of what is needed and shows G7 leaders have not yet solved the worst public health crisis in 100 years, health advocates said.

Oxfam’s Health Policy Manager Anna Marriott said Friday, “If the best G7 leaders can manage is to donate one billion vaccine doses then this summit will have been a failure.”

The World Health Organization has estimated that 11 billion doses are needed to vaccinate the whole world to a level of 70 percent, the point at which transmission “could be significantly affected.”

Marriott says, “charity is not going to fix the colossal vaccine supply crisis.” She is urging the G7 to “break the pharmaceutical monopolies and insist that the vaccine science and know-how is shared with qualified manufacturers around the world.”

G7 leaders meet with Queen Elizabeth II. From left: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, French President Emmanuel Macron, Her Majesty The Queen. June 11, 2021 (Photo by Karwai Tang/G7 Cornwall 2021)

“Presidents Biden and Macron have supported a waiver on the intellectual property behind COVID vaccines – the other G7 nations should follow their lead,” she said. “The lives of millions of people in developing countries should never be dependent on the good will of rich nations and profit hungry pharmaceutical corporations.”

While the head of the United Nations welcomed the vaccine donations, he emphasized that more is needed. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that if people in developing countries are not inoculated quickly, the virus could mutate further and become resistant to the new vaccines.

“We need more than that,” Guterres 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.”

The White House says that the vaccine donations form “the basis of a comprehensive set of G7+ actions towards ending this global pandemic in 2022.”

The G7+ action plan that will be agreed to by leaders in Cornwall includes vaccinating the world’s most vulnerable, providing emergency supplies, bolstering world-wide economic recovery, and positioning the international community to prepare for, prevent, detect, and respond to future biological catastrophes.

Dr Tedros Adhanom, director general of the World Health Organization, said, “We welcome the Carbis Bay Health Declaration, particularly as the world begins to recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic. Together we need to build on the significant scientific and collaborative response to the COVID-19 pandemic and find common solutions to address many of the gaps identified.”

“To this end WHO welcomes and will take forward the UK’s proposal for a Global Pandemic Radar. As we discussed, the world needs a stronger global surveillance system to detect new epidemic and pandemic risks,” Dr. Tedros said..

Globally, as of 6:19pm CEST, June 11, 2021, there have been 174,502,686 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 3,770,361 deaths, reported to WHO. As of June 10, a total of 2,156,550,767 vaccine doses had been administered.

The latest World Health Organization weekly epidemiological report, dated June 8, shows that, “Global case and death incidences continued to decrease with over 3 million new cases and over 73,000 new deaths reported in the past week, a 15% and an 8% decrease respectively as compared to the week before. In the past week, the European and South-East Asia Regions reported marked declines in the number of new cases while the African Region reported an increase as compared to the previous week.”

Featured image: Group of Seven family picture on the beach at Cornwall’s Carbis Bay Hotel (Back row L to R) President of the European Council Charles Michel, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, (Front row L to R) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, United States President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pose for the official family picture, June 11, 2021 (Photo by G7 UK 2021)

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