The G-7 Nations plan to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines to the rest of the world, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Thursday leading up to the Summit. This comes after United States President Joe Biden said he would pledge 500 million Pfizer vaccines to countries in need.
The Group of 7 Nations consists of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Italy, France and Japan. This year’s summit is to be held in Britain, June 11-13. The G-7 nations are among the wealthiest democracies on earth, and their combined value is more than half of the world’s net wealth.
The group plans to work together to facilitate the distribution of 1 billion vaccines to other countries who are struggling with their vaccination effort and are currently experiencing surging rates of COVID-19 infection.
“We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners,” President Biden said on Thursday.
“Our vaccine donations don’t include pressure for favors or potential concessions,” he added. “We’re doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic, that’s it.”
Prime Minister Johnson said that the U.K. would donate 5 million doses of the vaccine by the end of this month.
The world is turning to the G-7 nations for Vaccine support
The rest of the world has turned to the leaders that comprise the G-7 for support as different regions continue to be ravaged by the coronavirus and face a shortage or complete lack of vaccine doses. The U.S. currently has a large stockpile of the vaccine that has gone unused.
Biden has previously supported waiving the patents individual pharmaceutical companies hold on COVID-19 vaccines in order for vaccine-strapped countries to manufacture their own vaccines.
This decision came amid a devastating outbreak in India, which accounted for 46% of the new COVID-19 cases recorded worldwide last week, and signs that the outbreak is spreading to Nepal, Sri Lanka and other neighbors.
India and South Africa were the leading voices in a group of about 60 countries which for the last six months has been trying to get the patents on vaccines set aside.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) called the move a “monumental moment” in the fight against Covid-19.
“I commend the United States on its historic decision for vaccine equity and prioritizing the well-being of all people everywhere at a critical time. Now let’s all move together swiftly, in solidarity, building on the ingenuity and commitment of scientists who produced life-saving COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.
“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai said in a statement.
“The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines.”