The Journal Gazette
 
 
Friday, June 11, 2021 1:00 am

G-7 leaders set to commit 1 billion COVID-19 shots

Associated Press

ST. IVES, England – The Group of Seven nations are set to commit to sharing at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with the world, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Thursday, with half coming from the U.S. and 100 million from the U.K. as President Joe Biden urged allies to join in speeding the pandemic's end and bolstering the strategic position of the world's wealthiest democracies.

Johnson's announcement on the eve of the G-7 leaders' summit in England came hours after Biden committed to donating 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and previewed a coordinated effort by the advanced economies to make vaccination widely and speedily available everywhere.

“We're going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners,” Biden said, adding that today, the G-7 nations would join the U.S. in outlining their vaccine donation commitments. The G-7 also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

The prime minister's office said the first 5 million U.K. doses would be shared in the coming weeks, with the remainder coming over the next year. Biden's own commitment was on top of the 80 million doses he has already pledged to donate by the end of June.

“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,” Johnson said in a statement referencing the U.S. president's campaign slogan.

Earlier Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the U.S. commitment and said Europe should do the same. He said France would share at least 30 million doses globally by year's end.

He added that time was of the essence, saying, “It's almost more important to say how many (doses) we deliver the next month than making promises to be fulfilled in 18 months from now.”

The G-7 leaders have faced mounting pressure to outline their global vaccine sharing plans, especially as inequities in supply around the world have become more pronounced. In the U.S., there is a large vaccine stockpile and the demand for shots has dropped precipitously in recent weeks.

Biden predicted the U.S. doses and the overall G-7 commitment would “supercharge” the global vaccination campaign.

“Our vaccine donations don't include pressure for favors or potential concessions,” Biden said. “We're doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic, that's it.”


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