The G7 leaders posed for the landmark family photo in Carbis Bay, England, ahead of the first plenary session of the three-day summit
A Group of Seven plan to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries lacks ambition, is far too slow and shows Western leaders are not yet up to the job of tackling the worst public health crisis in a century, campaigners said on Friday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he expected G7 leaders to agree the donations as part of a plan to inoculate the worlds nearly 8 billion people against the coronavirus by the end of next year. read more
After U.S. President Joe Biden vowed to supercharge the fight against the virus with a donation of 500 million Pfizer (PFE.N) shots, Johnson said Britain would give at least 100 million vaccines within a year.
But health and anti-poverty campaigners said that, while donations were a step in the right direction, Western leaders had failed to grasp the exceptional efforts needed to beat the virus. Help with distribution was also necessary, they said.
Former British prime minister Gordon Brown, who has been pushing for richer countries to share more of the cost of vaccinating developing countries, said the G7 pledges were more akin to "passing round the begging bowl" than a real solution.
"Its a catastrophic failure if we cant go away in the next week or two ... with a plan that actually rids the world of COVID now weve got a vaccine," he told Reuters. read more
"What the world needs is vaccines now, not later this year. At this historic moment, the G7 must show the political leadership our crisis demands," said Harris. "We urge G7 leaders to raise their ambition."
The race to end a pandemic that has killed around 3.9 million people and sown social and economic destruction will feature prominently at the three-day summit which began on Friday in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab warned that other countries were using vaccines as diplomatic tools to secure influence. read more Britain and the United States said their donations would come with no strings attached.
COVID-19 has ripped through the global economy, with infections reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
As most people need two vaccine doses, and possibly booster shots to tackle emerging variants, campaigners said world leaders needed to go much further, and much faster.