Ahead of the G7 summit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed to donating over 100 million coronavirus vaccines to developing countries over the next year, with donations set to start within the next few weeks.
Boris Johnson agrees to donate COVID vaccines to poorer nations
The first five million doses from the UK will be donated by the end of September, with a further 25 million by the end of this year. A total of 80% of the vaccine donations will also be going towards the Covax programme, tasked with providing coronavirus vaccines for poorer nations. Johnson announced the news stating:
As a result of the success of the UK's vaccine programme, we are now in a position to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them. In doing so we will take a massive step towards beating this pandemic for good.
The UK also pointed out that they were the fourth largest donators to the Covax scheme last year, with 96% of their donations being the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines. The AstraZeneca vaccine was also developed by the UK and will be available at cost price for the duration of the pandemic. Two-thirds of the 400m doses manufactured are also going to low and middle-income countries, including 170m to India.
The PM also said that he hoped that fellow leaders at the G7 summit would also consider similar pledges ‘so that, together, we can vaccinate the world by the end of next year.’
Vaccinating the world by the end of 2022 is no small task, with nearly 90% of African countries set to miss their September vaccine targets. The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed: ‘Forty-seven of Africa’s 54 countries – nearly 90% – are set to miss the September target of vaccinating 10% of their people unless Africa receives 225m more doses.’
At 32m doses, Africa accounts for under 1% of the over 2.1bn doses administered globally. Just 2% of the continent’s nearly 1.3 billion people have received one dose, and only 9.4 million Africans are fully vaccinated.
US President Joe Biden pledges to donate 500 million doses
Leaders in Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and the USA have all agreed to join the UK and help set out a plan to increase vaccine manufacturing to help vaccinate as much of the world as possible.
US President Joe Biden spoke in Cornwall, announcing that the US would donate ‘half a billion doses with no strings attached'.
Our vaccine donations don't include pressure for favours or potential concessions. We're doing this to save lives.
Earlier on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the donation promises from the US and expressed that Europe should do the same. Macron then pledged that France would donate at least 30 million doses globally by the end of the year.
The UK is also asking for vaccine manufacturers to adopt a model similar to AstraZeneca and provide vaccines at cost until the pandemic is over. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have also agreed to share 1.3bn doses with developing countries on a non-profit basis. This model prevents pharmaceutical companies from making a profit from the pandemic.