The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has pledged to donate most of the UK’s surplus vaccine supply to poorer countries.
He made this disclosure in his speech at the virtual Group 7 (G7) meeting held today.
Johnson urged the wealthy countries to come together to back the 100-day target set for developing new vaccines for future emerging diseases.
According to Johnson,
“The UK has ordered more than 400 million doses of various vaccines, so many will be left over once all adults are vaccinated.
“Decisions on when and how much of the surplus will be distributed will be made later this year, with ministers taking into account the supply chain and whether booster shots are needed in the autumn.
“Science is finally getting the upper hand on Covid. Around the world we need to make sure everyone gets the vaccines that they need, so that the whole world can come through this pandemic together.
“There is no point in us vaccinating our individual populations – we’ve got to make sure the whole world is vaccinated because this is a global pandemic and it’s no use one country being far ahead of another, we’ve got to move together.
He further stated that it is his desire to “ensure that we distribute vaccines at cost around the world – make sure everybody gets the vaccines that they need so that the whole world can come through this pandemic together.”
What they are saying
The French President, Emmanuel Macron said, “richer countries should send up to 4 to 5% of their current vaccine supplies to poorer nations”.
According to the Foreign Office minister, James Cleverly, “UK would be looking at a figure significantly greater than that”.
He however promised that the UK would not use the promise of vaccine supplies to other countries as “short-term diplomatic leverage, but stated that it was difficult to say at this stage when the sharing would happen.
An authoritative government source said more than half of excess doses would go to Covax, a UN initiative intended to ensure wider access to vaccines.
What you should know
- In the desperate scramble to secure vaccines against Covid-19, many wealthy nations – which funded a lot of the research – have ended up buying more supplies than they need for their citizens, leaving the poor countries hopeless and helpless.
- According to reports from an anti-poverty pressure group, the One Campaign, Australia, Canada, Japan, the UK, and US and the EU have already secured more than 3bn doses – 1.2bn more than they need to give their entire populations two doses.
- It is sad to note that some 130 countries in the world haven’t done any vaccinations at all and healthcare workers in those countries have remained at high risk.
- Even if the UN’s Covax plan works out well as expected, it’s only designed to cover 20% of each nation’s population – far short of the herd immunity expected in wealthy countries.
- As chairman of the G7 group of major economies, Boris Johnson used his position to push the case for setting a 100-day target for developing vaccines when new diseases strike.
- Since April 2020, Friday’s virtual meeting was the first gathering of G7 leaders as well as the first international meeting for the new US President, Joe Biden.