Campaigners slam UK’s ‘shameful’ vaccine donations as only a quarter due by Christmas

Britain will donate at least 100 million coronavirus jabs to the world’s poorest nations over the next year (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Charities and campaigners have slammed Boris Johnson’s pledge to donate 100million vaccine doses to poorer countries – saying it’s not fast or big enough.

Britain will donate at least 100 million coronavirus jabs to the world's poorest nations over the next year, Boris Johnson announced last night.

But only five million will be sent abroad by the end of September, the Prime Minister pledged – with only 25 million more by the end of 2021.

That is a relatively small fraction of the 1billion doses pledged by G7 nations in total.

President Biden has already promised to donate half a billion Pfizer vaccines for 92 low and lower-middle income countries and the African Union.

Boris Johnson made the pledge at the G7 summit in Cornwall
(Image: Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street)

Even then, the billion doses will only cover 11% of the world’s unvaccinated population, said campaign group Global Justice Now.

Speaking in Carbis Bay, the PM said: “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.”

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But Nick Dearden, Director of Global Justice Now, said: “Boris Johnson’s lofty promises to vaccinate the world have today been wiped out like a surfer in Corbis Bay.

“After spending eight months blocking proposals to allow the majority of the world to produce their own doses by overriding patents, the government is offering global south countries crumbs from the table. It’s shameful.

“The UK has bought 500 million vaccine doses; well beyond what we need. And yet today we’re only offering to give 100 million doses to the rest of the world – and only by the middle of next year. It’s little more than a PR gimmick.”

Zoe Abrams, executive director at the British Red Cross, said the promise on vaccines was "heartening" but added: "While every commitment must be welcomed, more needs to be done, and fast."

Carrie Johnson, wife of the Prime Minister speaks with First Lady of the United States Dr Jill Biden as Wilfred Johnson sits on the beach at the G7
(Image: Simon Dawson / No10 Downing Street)

Joanna Rea of the UK Committee for UNICEF welcomed the pledge but said: “However, the volume and speed of vaccine donations needs to accelerate to ensure they get to the countries that need them most.

“Currently, COVAX has a shortfall of 190 million vaccines so urgent action is essential to overcome the acute supply shortages and address the immediate need to save lives and protect us all from future variants.”

Kirsty McNeill, of Save the Children, added: "This announcement isn’t at the level of ambition that we need.

"Doses aren’t coming at the speed that we need and it doesn’t come with the money that we need.

"100 million doses could start making a difference but poorer countries need them now.

"Their vaccination campaigns are stalling. And that puts everyone at risk because no-one is safe until we all are.

"We need to see donations ramping up much faster than the five million committed by the end of September. We can do that while keeping our own rollout going at pace."

The Prime Minister made the pledge as leaders of some of the richest democracies on the planet gathered in Cornwall.

The group of seven leading industrialised nations are expected to collectively agree to provide a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine in an effort to end the pandemic in 2022.

The leaders – including US President Joe Biden – will spend the day discussing issues including the pandemic before a lavish reception at the Eden Project attended by the Queen.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also take part in their first G7 events, another milestone in their progression as senior royals.

William and Kate will join the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at the G7 leaders reception on Friday evening.

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