He urged rich countries to back a 100-day target for developing new vaccines for future emerging diseases. The UK has ordered more than 400 million doses of various vaccines, so many will be leftover once all adults are vaccinated.
But anti-poverty campaigners say the UK is not doing enough. Decisions on when and how much of the surplus will be distributed will be made later this year, with ministers taking into account the supply chain and whether booster shots are needed in the autumn.
The prime minister told his fellow leaders: “Science is finally getting the upper hand on Covid. Around the world [we need to] make sure everyone gets the vaccines that they need so that the whole world can come through this pandemic together.”
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“There is no point in us vaccinating our individual populations – we’ve got to make sure the whole world is vaccinated because this is a global pandemic and it’s no use one country being far ahead of another, we’ve got to move together.”
He said he wanted to “ensure that we distribute vaccines at a cost around the world – make sure everybody gets the vaccines that they need so that the whole world can come through this pandemic together.” After the meeting, the G7 leaders issued a statement committing to “intensify cooperation on the health response to Covid-19”.
It reaffirmed the group’s support for “affordable and equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, reflecting the role of extensive immunization as a global public good.”
French President Emmanuel Macron has told the Financial Times richer countries should send up to 4 to 5% of their current vaccine supplies to poorer nations. But Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told BBC Radio 4’s Today program the UK would be “looking at a figure significantly greater than that”.
He promised the government would be a “global force for good” in fighting the pandemic and, unlike “some countries”, the UK would not use the promise of vaccine supplies to other countries as “short-term diplomatic leverage”. But it was “difficult to say” at this stage when the sharing would happen, Mr. Cleverly added.
Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.
In England, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local vaccination centers run by GPs and at larger vaccination centers. More centers are opening all the time.
It’s being given to:
- people aged 65 and over
- people who are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- people who are at moderate risk from coronavirus (clinically vulnerable)
- people who live or work in care homes
- health and social care workers