Boris Johnson to send 100million Covid vaccines worldwide as UK fights to end pandemic
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The British contribution, funded from the Government’s £10billion annual overseas aid budget, is expected to be part of at least a billion vaccine doses pledged by the leaders attending the Carbis Bay gathering. Speaking ahead of the first day of the summit today, 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.
Mr Johnson’s Government will donate five million vaccine doses by the end of September for use in the world’s poorest countries.
The Prime Minister is also committing to donating a further 95 million doses within the next year including 25 million more by the end of 2021. Eight out of 10 doses of the UK’s contribution will go to international vaccine programme Covax while the rest will go directly to countries in need.
Officials insist the surplus doses can be shared without causing any delay to the UK’s domestic vaccine roll out or the vaccine boost programme this autumn.
And they point out that vaccinating the rest of the world will help reduce the risk of fresh virus waves hitting the UK and curb the threat posed by the possible growth of vaccine-resistant Covid mutations.
Doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Janssen and Moderna vaccines will be included in the UK contribution.
The UK helped to establish Covax last year and is its fourth biggest donor, pledging £548million to the scheme.
Covax has so far provided 81 million doses to 129 of the world’s poorest countries. 96 percent of these were the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the development of which was funded by the UK.
With the support of the UK Government, Oxford-AstraZeneca are distributing their vaccines on a not for profit basis around the world. Thanks to this commitment, half a billion people have received a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca so far.
At the G7 summit, leaders will also discuss how to expand the supply of vaccines internationally.
Mr Johnson will ask US President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders to encourage pharmaceutical companies to adopt the Oxford-AstraZeneca model of providing vaccines at cost price for the duration of the pandemic.
Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have already pledged to share 1.3 billion doses on a non-profit basis with developing countries.
Leaders are expected to discuss additional ways to support countries hit by acute Covid emergencies and new measures to block future pandemics.
This weekend’s summit is the first in-person gathering of G7 leaders for almost two years due to the pandemic.
Mr Johnson, who is hosting the meeting, wants the event to focus on the world Covid recovery and international efforts to build a fairer, greener and more prosperous world.
Downing Street insiders see the summit as his first major opportunity to demonstrate the vision set out in his recent review of defence and foreign affairs for more cooperation and burden sharing in addressing global challenges.
The G7 – which is made up of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and the EU – is a forum for the leaders of the world’s leading democracies to hold face-to-face discussions on global affairs.
Mr Johnson has also invited leaders from Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea to attend as guest countries to deepen the expertise and experience around the table at the summit venue in Carbis Bay.
The UK’s G7 Summit will focus on applying shared values and agreeing action to improve global health, tackle climate change and make the world fairer and more prosperous.
The Government chose Cornwall as the venue because of the stunning coastal settings and the county’s record as a powerhouse for green innovation.
Visit Cornwall has estimated that the summit will give the county a £50million boost with £24million incoming from staging the event and the rest from increased international tourism over the next five years as a result.
Following the G7 Summit the Prime Minister will travel to the NATO Summit in Brussels on Monday.
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