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G7 to distribute 1 billion covid jabs globally by 2023, says Johnson

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G7 leaders will agree to expand global manufacturing of Covid vaccines to provide at least 1 billion doses to the world through exchange and financing schemes, Britain said on Thursday.

The UK, which is hosting the Great Powers Gathering in South West England, added that it will donate at least 100 million surplus doses over the next year, including five million from the next few weeks.

The pledge follows growing calls for richer countries to redouble their efforts to share Covid-19 injections with less developed nations, with charities warning that the current situation is leading to “vaccine apartheid.”

Britain, which has orders for more than 400 million doses, has faced criticism for not starting to make donations to the poorest countries.

But on the eve of welcoming the world leaders of the group of seven rich nations to their first summit in nearly two years, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised that would soon change.

“As a result of the success of the UK vaccine programs, we are now in a position to share some of our excess doses with those who need them,” he said.

“By doing so, we will take a huge step toward defeating this pandemic for good.

“At the G7 Summit I hope that my fellow leaders will make similar promises so that together we can vaccinate the world by the end of next year and better rebuild against the coronavirus.”

A statement from Downing Street said: “At the Summit, world leaders are expected to announce that they will provide at least 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to the world through dose sharing and funding, and establish a plan to expand the manufacture of vaccines in order to achieve that goal. “

The UK will donate five million doses by the end of September, starting in the next few weeks, primarily for use in the world’s poorest countries, according to Johnson’s office.

Britain has also pledged to donate another 95 million over the next year, including a further 25 million by the end of 2021, he added.

About 80 percent of the hits will go to the Covax scheme, which aims to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines around the world, with the rest to be shared bilaterally.

The United States said Thursday it will donate 500 million injections to 92 poor and lower-middle-income countries.

Meanwhile, EU members agreed to donate at least 100 million doses by the end of 2021, with France and Germany pledging to provide 30 million each.

(AFP)

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