The leaders of the G7 are expected to announce that they will donate one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries this weekend as they try to ease concerns over vaccine nationalism.
The “most-advanced” economies of the world — as the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations (G7) defines itself — have been criticized for not sharing more vaccines with countries that have limited resources.
The U.S. legislated that it should only send vaccines abroad after it reached a satisfactory level of vaccination within its own borders. However, the G7 nations (U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan) want to end the pandemic next year, according to a statement published by the British government, and will be stepping up their individual contributions.
The U.K. already said that it will donate at least 100 million surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses within the next year. The U.S. also said earlier this week that it would be donating 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to poorer countries.
The pandemic is front and center at a meeting of the G7 leaders, who start a three-day gathering on Friday (June 11) in Cornwall, England.
Sharing vaccines is described by health officials as the only way to end the pandemic. This is because for as long as the virus exists, it can mutate and continue to spread all over the world.
There have been more than 174 million cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and more than 3.7 million deaths worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.