The World leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized countries will pledge at their summit to share at least 1 billion coronavirus vaccines with troubled countries around the world: half of the doses come from the US and 100 million. from United Kingdom.
The vaccine exchange commitments of President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday laid the groundwork for the G-7 leaders’ meeting in England, where leaders will spend Friday for opening greetings and a “family photo. “Directly to a session on” Building Back Better from COVID-19 “.
“We are going to help lift the world out of this pandemic by working together with our global partners,” Biden said, adding that the G-7 nations would join the United States in outlining their vaccine donation commitments at the three-day summit. . The G-7 also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.
G-7 leaders have faced mounting pressure to outline their global vaccine exchange plans, especially as supply inequalities around the world have become more pronounced. In the US, there is a large stock of vaccines and the demand for injections has plummeted in recent weeks.
Biden said the United States will donate 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and anticipated a coordinated effort by advanced economies to make vaccination widely and rapidly available everywhere. The pledge is in addition to the 80 million doses that Biden has already pledged to donate by the end of June.
Johnson, for his part, said that the first 5 million doses from the UK would be shared in the coming weeks and the rest would be distributed over the next year.
“At the G7 Summit, I hope that my fellow leaders will make similar promises so that, together, we can vaccinate the world by the end of next year and better rebuild against the coronavirus,” Johnson said in a statement referencing the campaign slogan of the United States’s president.
Early Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the US commitment and said Europe should do the same. He said France would share at least 30 million doses worldwide before the end of the year.
“The European Union needs to have at least the same level of ambition as the United States,” he told a news conference. He added that time was of the essence, saying: “It’s almost more important to say how many (doses) we deliver next month than to make promises that will be kept 18 months from now.”
Biden predicted that the US doses and the overall G-7 commitment would “overwhelm” the global vaccination campaign, adding that the US doses come without strings attached.
“Our vaccine donations do not include pressure for potential favors or concessions,” Biden said. “We are doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic, that’s it.”
He added: “Our values require us to do everything we can to vaccinate the world against COVID-19.”
The US commitment is to purchase and donate 500 million doses of Pfizer for distribution through the COVAX global alliance to 92 low-income countries and the African Union, bringing the first consistent supply of (MRNA) vaccine to countries. who need it most.
The Pfizer deal came with some urgency in the past four weeks under Biden’s leadership, a senior White House official said, both to meet critical needs abroad and to be ready for the announcement at the G-7. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal plans, added that the Biden administration should apply the same wartime stance applied to the launch of the vaccine in the U.S. in its effort to share vaccines across the board world.
Biden said the 500 million vaccines made in the United States will ship beginning in August, with a goal of distributing 200 million by the end of the year. The remaining 300 million doses would ship in the first half of 2022. No price tag was issued for the doses, but it is now established that the US will be COVAX’s largest vaccine donor, in addition to its largest individual donor. with a commitment of $ 4 billion.
The well-funded global alliance has faced a slow start to its vaccination campaign as the wealthiest nations have blocked billions of doses through contracts directly with drug makers. Biden’s move, officials said, was meant to ensure that a substantial amount of manufacturing capacity remains open to wealthy nations.
Last month, the European Commission signed an agreement to buy up to 1.8 billion doses of Pfizer over the next two years, a significant part of the company’s upcoming production, although the bloc reserved the right to donate some of its doses to COVAX.
COVAX has distributed only 81 million doses worldwide and parts of the world, particularly in Africa, remain vaccine deserts.
White House officials said the beefed-up distribution program fits into an issue that Biden plans to attack frequently during his week in Europe: that Western democracies, and not authoritarian states, can provide the best for the world.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Wednesday that G-7 leaders are “converging” around the idea that vaccine supply can be increased in a number of ways, including through countries sharing more of their own doses, helping to increase global manufacturing capacity, and doing more along the “chain of custody” from the time the vaccine is produced to the time it is injected into someone in the developing world.
Biden, in his comments, goes back to Detroit-area workers who 80 years ago built tanks and planes “that helped defeat the threat of global fascism in World War II.”
“They built what became known as the arsenal of democracy,” Biden said. “Now a new generation of American men and women, working with today’s latest technology, is going to build a new arsenal to defeat the current enemy of world peace, health and stability – COVID-19.”
He noted that Pfizer’s main COVID-19 vaccination facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is not far from Detroit.
Last week, the White House unveiled plans to donate an initial allocation of 25 million doses of surplus vaccines overseas, primarily through the World Health Organization-backed COVAX program, promising infusions for South America and Central, Asia, Africa and others.
Officials say a quarter of that excess will be held in reserve for emergencies and for the United States to share directly with allies and partners, including South Korea, Taiwan and Ukraine. Johnson said the UK would follow a similar pattern with its dosages, keeping 20% in reserve for bilateral agreements but sending the vast majority to COVAX.
China and Russia have shared their domestically produced vaccines with some countries in need, often with hidden conditions. Sullivan said that Biden “wants to show, by uniting the rest of the world’s democracies, that democracies are the countries that can best offer solutions for people everywhere.”