Leaders must “announce that they will provide at least a billion doses of vaccine by sharing doses and funding them,” the UK government said.
The rich countries of the G7, which meet from Friday in England, will pledge to distribute to poor countries a billion doses of anti-Covid vaccines in the hope of eradicating the pandemic.
The announcement came on Thursday evening, after the World Health Organization (WHO) called on European countries not to lower their guard, stressing that the level of vaccination is still too low to avoid a new wave. Meeting until Sunday in the south-west of England, the leaders of the great powers must “Announce that they will provide at least one billion doses of coronavirus vaccines by sharing doses and funding them”, indicated Thursday evening the British government, which holds the presidency of the G7. They must also “Present a plan to expand vaccine production to achieve this goal”, he continued. In this context, London has specified to give 100 million excess doses from different laboratories thanks to the progress of its vaccination program, which has made it possible to administer nearly 70 million injections in the United Kingdom.
The United States has pledged half of these vaccines, or 500 million doses of Pfizer / BioNTech. “Our humanitarian duty is to save as many lives as possible”, hammered US President Joe Biden, who is making his first tour abroad. “It is also in the interest of the Americans”. “Once again, the United States has answered the call”, welcomed the CEO of Pzifer, Albert Bourla, explaining that all inhabitants of the planet had the right to be vaccinated regardless of their financial situation or their origins.
The purchase of 500 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer / BioNTech for donation to other countries is “The largest vaccine order and donation ever made by a single country and a commitment by the American people to help protect people around the world from Covid-19”, underlined the American executive.
These vaccines will be distributed “To 92 countries” disadvantaged through the Covax system, set up to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines. They will start shipping in August, with 200 million doses delivered by the end of the year. The other 300 million will be delivered by June 2022.
Global target missed in Africa
With nearly 64% of American adults having now received at least one dose, the White House is trying to position itself as a leader in the planetary fight against the pandemic, which has killed more than 3.76 million, including nearly 600,000 in United States. However, if part of the population of rich countries returns to a normal life thanks to vaccination, this progress is still fragile and must be extended to less privileged countries.
Covax fails to operate at full capacity. As of June 4, the device had delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 countries and territories, far less than expected. Nearly 90% of African countries will miss the global goal of vaccinating one tenth of their population by September, if they do not urgently receive at least 225 million vaccines, the WHO warned on Thursday.
Thorny question of the lifting of patents
The Organization calls on rich countries, once their populations have been vaccinated, to share their stocks of vaccines with less privileged countries, in order to save lives, but also to help eradicate the epidemic at the global level. Donation of doses or lifting of patents protecting vaccines can make it possible to facilitate vaccination across the planet: the European Parliament, in disagreement with the European Commission, voted on Thursday for a temporary lifting of patents in order to develop production.
In the 53 territories of the European region according to WHO criteria, 30% of the region’s population has received a first dose of vaccine and 17% are fully vaccinated.
Yet as European countries ease their restrictions, the WHO has called on them not to let their guard down. “Vaccination coverage is far from sufficient to protect the region from a resurgence”, warned WHO’s European director, Hans Kluge, on Thursday. “The way to go to achieve coverage of at least 80% of the adult population is still considerable”, he stressed. “We are far from being out of danger”.
To the ravages of the disease are added the catastrophic consequences for the economy of the poorest countries. So, according to a UN report released Thursday, nine million children are at risk of being forced to work because of the pandemic, adding to the 160 million who are already forced to do so.
In the rich countries, the inhabitants find a semblance of normal life. Almost total stop of the compulsory wearing of the mask from June 14, bars and restaurants open until midnight on June 11, more public for Euro football: Denmark announced on Thursday the final stages of its plan to lift restrictions .
But in other parts of the world, the pandemic continues to rage, especially in Iran, which has crossed the threshold of 3 million cases. In Chile, the authorities have decreed a new quarantine in the capital Santiago, where the number of cases is increasing although 57% of the population has already been vaccinated.