G7 nations sign vaccine pledge – but stop short of donating a billion directly

Boris Johnson confirmed the breakthrough at the G7 summit in Cornwall (Image: REUTERS)

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G7 leaders have stopped short of pledging a billion spare vaccine doses directly to the rest of the world – despite their much-trumped vow at today's summit.

Boris Johnson today hailed his fellow leaders for helping meet the historic total by the end of 2022.

In an apparent swipe at Donald Trump, the PM said leaders wanted to “reject some of the selfishness and nationalistic approaches that have marred some of the initial global response to the pandemic.”

But today a final communique from the Cornwall summit made clear the billion total would only be reached by taking direct donations together with indirect funding to COVAX.

Instead, the seven nations have pledged to donate "at least 870 million doses directly over the next year".

The final document adds: "We will make these doses available as soon as possible and aim to deliver at least half by the end of 2021 primarily channelled through COVAX towards those in greatest need.

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"Taken together, the dose equivalent of our financial contributions and our direct dose sharing mean that the G7’s commitments since the start of the pandemic provide for a total of over two billion vaccine doses.

"The commitments since we last met in February 2021 including here in Carbis Bay provide for one billion doses over the next year."

It comes after campaigners already warned the billion tally of vaccine doses would not be enough – and ex-PM Gordon Brown warning it could be an "unforgivable moral failure".

Boris Johnson at the G7 summit today
(Image: PA)

Britain will donate at least 100 million coronavirus jabs to the world's poorest nations over the next year. But only five million will be sent abroad by the end of September – with only 25 million more by the end of 2021.

A spokeswoman for campaign group Global Citizen said: "The G7 have this year proved that they are not up to the job of getting the world back on track and ending the pandemic for everyone.

"With a lack of urgency and ambition on both vaccine sharing and financing, the world will have to look elsewhere for leadership."

Gordon Brown said the G7 summit "will go down as a missed opportunity" due to the lack of a plan to deliver 11 billion vaccine doses.

Gordon Brown said the G7 summit "will go down as a missed opportunity"
(Image: PA)

Speaking to Sky's Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme, Mr Brown said: "When we needed 11 billion vaccines, we've only got offered a plan for one billion."

He added: "I think this summit will also go down as an unforgivable moral failure, when the richest countries are sitting around the table with the power to do something about it.

"Now that we've discovered the vaccine, we have not delivered the comprehensive plan that will deliver vaccination by the middle of next year."

US President Joe Biden at the G7 summit
(Image: REUTERS)

Mr Brown continued: "We will have a huge problem of a division between the richest countries that are safe and the poorest countries that are not safe.

"But then the problem will come back to haunt the richest countries because we will have contagion spreading that will hurt even the people who are vaccinated because of mutations and variants."

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

Health workers are briefed as they prepare to deploy a COVAX scheme in Kenya
(Image: REUTERS)

The G7 leaders will also set out a plan to expand vaccine manufacturing in order to achieve that goal.

Earlier, Zoe Abrams, executive director at the British Red Cross, said the promise on vaccines is "heartening".

However she added: "While every commitment must be welcomed, more needs to be done, and fast."

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