As the meeting of the Group of 7 countries ended on Sunday, World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners, including pharmaceutical manufacturing companies hailed their resolve to share about 870 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to expedite a quick end to the pandemic.
In a landmark agreement at the just-concluded summit at Cornwall, UK, the G7 countries, consisting of the world’s largest advanced economies, namely the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada, France, Japan and the United States resolved to share the vaccine doses internationally, to support global equitable access and to help end the acute phase of the pandemic.
Since February, during its virtual G7 Early Leaders’ Summit at the G20 Global Health Summit, the group pledged to commit one billion doses of the vaccines.
The WHO in a statement welcomed the G7 commitment, along with continued support for equitable access to vaccines in 2021 and 2022, with the resolve to deliver at least half of the 870 million doses by the end of 2021.
WHO, along with COVAX, the vaccine alliance set up by GAVI and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), are part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) accelerator to equitably provide COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to all people globally, regardless of their wealth.
COVAX said it would work with the G7 and other countries that have agreed to share doses as rapidly and equitably as possible.
“This will help address short-term supply constraints currently impacting the global response to COVID-19 and minimize the prospect of future deadly variants.
CEO of Gavi, Seth Berkley, said, “this is an important moment of global solidarity and a critical milestone in the push to ensure those most at risk, everywhere are protected.”
CEO of CEPI, Richard Hatchett, said: “As we strive towards our goal of ending the acute phase of the pandemic, we look forward to working with countries to ensure these doses pledged are quickly turned into doses delivered.
“This is a historic moment as leaders of some of the wealthiest counties come together to ensure that all parts of the world have access to life-saving vaccines.
“This pandemic has shown us that we cannot set national against international interests. With a disease like COVID-19, we have to ensure that we get it under control everywhere.
WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said: “Many other countries are now facing a surge in cases and they are facing it without vaccines.
“We are in the race of our lives, but it’s not a fair race, and most countries have barely left the starting line. We welcome the generous announcements about donations of vaccines and thank leaders.”
At the end of the meeting, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau told a news conference the G7 Summit pledged to take urgent action on the COVID-19 pandemic, climate, and possibly China.
In a 25-page communiqué, the summit said they were committed to ending the pandemic and prepare for the future while supporting a green revolution aimed at moving their economies on the path of recovery.
Also, they pledged to share more COVID-19 vaccines with countries in need over the next year.
“I want to be clear, this global commitment on vaccines is in addition to and in parallel with our vaccine rollout at home. We have millions of doses being delivered into the country each week, and every day more and more people get their first and second shots,” Trudeau said.