Leaders of the G7 economy convening in the UK will announce a commitment to deliver 1 billion doses of coronavirus to the poorest countries as part of a plan to “vaccinate the world” by the end of 2022.
The move, to be unveiled at the start of the three-day summit on Friday, is intended to respond to criticism that wealthy Western governments have secured most of the wild Covid-19 vaccines from producers to immunize their own populations. The vote is also an attempt to counter “vaccination diplomacy” by Beijing and Moscow, which are quick to sell their coups to developing nations.
Hosting the G7 summit in Cornwall, Britain’s picturesque southern tip, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce on Friday that the UK will give away 100m of vaccine surplus in the next 12 months, according to aides.
Then a face-to-face meeting with his host in Carbis Bay, on Cornwall’s rural coast, U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled a commitment to buy 500m of Covid-19 vaccines made by BioNTech / Pfizer and donate them to some of the world’s poorest countries. world. This includes 200m this year and the rest in the first half of next year.
“It’s about our responsibility, our humanitarian obligation to save as many lives as we can,” Biden said.
At the end of this year, the EU promised separately 100m doses for African countries and other developing nations.
Speaking at the Elysée Palace on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron said will push the G7 to “lift barriers” to accelerating vaccination in Africa to reach a vaccination rate of 40 percent by the end of this year and 60 percent by the end of the first quarter. next year.
The blows donated by the United States and other G7 members will have to be “accompanied” by an additional commitment from drug manufacturers to donate the equivalent of 10 percent of their dose production, Macron added.
British diplomats called the Carbis Bay meeting a “vaccine summit”, stressing that the G7 countries will illustrate their collective approach again by tackling Covid-19.
After four years in which the club of rich democracies was effectively paralyzed by Donald Trump’s confrontational and intrinsic presidency, Biden will use the G7 summit and his trip to Brussels on Monday to reaffirm U.S. leadership in the world. democratic and in the transatlantic. cooperation.
Johnson described his interaction with Biden as “a great breath of fresh air.” “There are many things [we] we want to do it together, ”he said, citing security, NATO and climate change.
Other topics at the top of the agenda of G7 countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan – include climate change, women’s education and economic recovery.
The group’s finance ministers have already agreed to implement it a global corporate taxation system, although details have not yet been fully accepted
Johnson puts the fight against Covid at the heart of the summit, for which G7 leaders will meet Friday for their first face-to-face meeting for more than a year at the boutique Carbis Bay hotel.
“It’s the first time for ages that everyone will be driven,” said a British official. The meeting will include a barbecue on Saturday night’s locally caught Newlyn lobster beach and sparkling Cornish.
Johnson, the summit’s commander-in-chief, will ask G7 leaders to encourage pharmaceutical companies to adopt the Oxford AstraZeneca model of providing non-profit vaccines during the pandemic.
Downing Street said Pfizer, Modern and Johnson & Johnson had already promised to share 1.3 billion doses nonprofit with developing countries.
Johnson has been heavily criticized by his own lawmakers, including former Prime Minister Theresa May, for cutting Britain’s aid balance from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent of national income during the pandemic.
The summit also tried to agree on a common approach to fighting future pandemics, with Johnson trying to avoid what Downing Street called a “every man for himself” approach in which countries have set out to to ensure vital supplies at the onset of the pandemic.
Johnson invited leaders from Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea to participate, but British officials tried to respond to the idea that the G7 was developing to become a group. anti-China democrat. “It’s about who we are, not who we are against,” said a British official.
For Johnson, the summit is an opportunity to put post-Brexit Britain on the world stage, but the UK’s departure from the EU counts on it – particularly because of the new agreements in Northern Ireland. .
Additional reports from Victor Mallet and David Keohane in Paris