The UK will donate at least 100 million surplus COVID vaccine doses to other countries within the next year, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has pledged.
As the G7 summit gets underway in Cornwall, UK, Johnson has vowed to “take a massive step towards beating this pandemic for good”.
He also requested for the world’s leading democracies to help vaccinate the entire globe by the end of 2022.
At this weekend’s summit, it is hoped G7 leaders will announce a commitment to providing at least one billion coronavirus vaccine doses to the rest of the world through dose sharing and financing.
US President Joe Biden has already offered to pledged to give out 500 million doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine to poorer countries.
Under the UK’s own commitment, five million doses will be donated by the end of September this year primarily for use in the world’s poorest countries.
Johnson also committed to donating a further 95 million doses within the next year, including 25 million more by the end of 2021.
Of the 100 million doses, 80% will go to the international COVAX vaccine-sharing programme.
The prime minister said: “Since the start of this pandemic the UK has led the way in efforts to protect humanity against this deadly disease.
“Over a year ago we funded the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on the basis it would be distributed at cost to the world.
“This unprecedented model, which puts people squarely above profit, means over half a billion doses have been administered in 160 countries so far.
“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.
“At the G7 summit I hope my fellow leaders will make similar pledges so that, together, we can vaccinate the world by the end of next year and build back better from coronavirus.”
Speaking to Sky News on Friday, June 11, US shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said the pledge was ” a welcome start” and called on the G7 leaders to agree a plan to ramp up the distribution of vaccines around the world.
“Well it is just a start, but it is a welcome start because there is a very, very strong case for getting the vaccine out to frontline healthcare workers around the world in countries where they are simply being overwhelmed – and doing that relatively quickly,” she said.
“But what we need to get from this summit is an agreement about a plan to actually ramp up capacity around the world and get the vaccine out to every corner of the globe.
“We have been locked in the debate about should we send more from Britain or should we administer those vaccines here in Britain – the truth is that we have to do both.
“And that means that we need to invest in factories, capacity in countries where they have none at the moment, it means we need to invest in healthcare systems in other countries in order to make sure they can actually administer the vaccine, because in many places that is a real problem as well.”