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G7 Leaders Fall Short Of Directly Sharing 1bn Vaccine Doses Around The World

·Deputy Political Editor, HuffPost UK
·5 min read

Leaders of the G7 group of wealthy nations have fallen short of directly providing one billion Covid vaccine doses to poorer countries over the next year.

The final communique of the Boris Johnson-hosted summit in Cornwall revealed that the leaders only managed to commit to sharing 870m spare doses over the next year, despite a high profile commitment to a billion.

The document insists that taken together with separate financial commitments it would mean the G7 has shared more than two billion doses since the start of the pandemic, and has met the 1bn target for the next year.

But the leaders are facing criticism from the likes of Oxfam, which accused leaders of “cooking the books” with its vaccine figures.

“A billion vaccine doses would have been a drop in the bucket, but they didn’t even manage that,” the charity said.

Earlier, former UK prime minister Gordon Brown said the summit will go down as “unforgivable moral failure” as the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 11bn doses - more than ten times the number pledged - are needed to stamp out the pandemic.

G7 leaders during a so-called "family photo" (Photo: KEVIN LAMARQUE via Getty Images)
G7 leaders during a so-called "family photo" (Photo: KEVIN LAMARQUE via Getty Images)

At his closing summit press conference, Johnson rejected Brown’s criticism, highlighting US president Joe Biden’s commitment to providing 500m Pfizer vaccines for 92 low and lower-middle income countries and the African Union.

“This is another billion made up of a massive contribution by the United States and other friends,” the UK prime minister said.

He said the UK’s contribution is another 100m from now to next June of the vaccines.

He said: “Already of the 1.5bn vaccines that have been distributed around the world, I think that people in this country should be very proud that half a billion of them are as a result of the actions taken by the UK government in doing that deal with the Oxford scientists and AstraZeneca to distribute it at cost.”

He added: “We are going flat out and we are producing vaccines as fast as we can, and distributing them as fast as we can”.

The target to vaccinate the world by the end of next year will be done “very largely thanks to the efforts of the countries who have come here today”, according to Johnson.

But Oxfam’s head of inequality policy Max Lawson said leaders had “cooked the books” on vaccines and “completely failed” to meet the challenge of the biggest health emergency in a century.

“This G7 summit will live on infamy,” he concluded.

Edwin Ikhuoria, of the anti-poverty campaign One, said: “Throughout the summit we have heard strong words from the leaders but without the new investment to make their ambitions a reality.

“Crucially, the failure to get life-saving vaccines to the whole planet as fast as possible, means this was not the historic moment that people around the world were hoping for and leaves us little closer to ending the pandemic.”

What else was agreed at the G7 summit?


G7 leaders renewed calls for a further investigation into the origin of Covid-19, following Biden’s surprise decision to order US intelligence agencies to continue probing the Wuhan “lab leak” theory.

The final summit communique called for a “timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO [World Health Organisation]-convened phase 2 Covid-19 origins study” including in China.

Johnson said that the best advice available to him remained that the virus jumped species from an animal.

However he said that it was important to keep an open mind as to what exactly happened.

“At the moment, the advice that we have had is that it doesn’t look as though this particular disease of zoonotic origin came from a lab,” he said.

“Clearly anybody sensible would want to keep an open mind about that.”


America’s wariness of China is continuing despite Biden replacing Donald Trump in the White House.

The president managed to convince leaders to sign up to a rival to Beijing’s influential Belt and Road investment programme in an effort to counter growing Chinese influence.

The Build Back Better World (B3W) programme will fund infrastructure, including green technology, and support growth in developing countries.

Leaders meanwhile pledged to call on China to “respect human rights and fundamental freedoms”, including in Xinjiang where Uighurs are believed to be suffering brutal human rights abuses that some say amount to genocide.

It also raised the situation in Hong Kong, calling on Beijing to respect its “rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy”.

But reports suggest that there were some disagreements over how strong the language on China should be.


The G7 is committed to supporting a green revolution that creates jobs, cuts emissions and seeks to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees

Leaders set out the action they will take to slash carbon emissions, including measures like ending the use of unabated coal power - although they were unable to set a deadline for this.

The leaders did commit to ending funding for carbon-emitting overseas projects by the end of the year but the failure to agree a timeline may worry Johnson in the run-up to the Cp26 climate summit in Glasgow at which he is hoping to strike a much bigger global deal.

The G7 also set a goal of conserving or protecting at least 30% of their land and marine areas by 2030 as part of a push to reach that level of protection globally.

But Oxfam criticised the failure to make new pledges of climate finance, arguing that developing nations were looking for progress ahead of Cop26.

“Vague promises of new financing for green development projects should not distract from this goal,” the charity said.


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This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.