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Prime Minister calls on G7 leaders to vaccinate the world by end of next year

  • Prime Minister will use Summit in Cornwall next week to ask world leaders to come together to end the coronavirus pandemic
  • World’s leading democracies will discuss ways to increase vaccine supply and support equitable access
  • Tackling climate change and getting more children into school also central themes of UK-hosted summit

The Prime Minister will call on fellow G7 leaders to make concrete commitments to vaccinate the entire world against coronavirus by the end of 2022 when he welcomes them to Cornwall for the G7 Summit later this week.  

This week’s meeting is the first between G7 leaders since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The Summit presents a crucial opportunity to combine the capabilities and expertise of the world’s most influential democracies to defeat coronavirus and lead a global recovery.

The UK has led efforts to ensuring the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people have access to vaccines. At the outset of the pandemic the UK Government funded the development and production of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and guaranteed it would be made available at cost around the globe. As a result, almost 1 in 3 vaccines administered around the world have been the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – 450 million out of 1.5 billion doses.

The UK also worked to establish the COVAX scheme to distribute the vaccine to developing countries, providing a significant financial contribution of £548 million early on and encouraging other countries to commit to the scheme.

COVAX would not have been able to deliver the 80 million doses it already without Oxford-AstraZeneca, which made up 96% of those doses.

The Prime Minister will say to other G7 leaders this week that if we are to end the coronavirus pandemic for good, the world’s biggest economies must go further and pledge to vaccinate the world by the end of next year. 

That includes by stepping up the manufacture of vaccines, lowering barriers to the international distribution of those vaccines – as the UK has done with Oxford-AstraZeneca – and ultimately sharing surplus doses with developing countries bilaterally and through COVAX.

The UK has already pledged to share a significant majority of its surplus doses with the scheme and later this week the Prime Minister will announce more details of the UK’s plans to support developing countries by sharing doses not needed by the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“Next week the leaders of the world’s greatest democracies will gather at an historic moment for our countries and for the planet.

“The world is looking to us to rise to the greatest challenge of the post-war era: defeating Covid and leading a global recovery driven by our shared values.

“Vaccinating the world by the end of next year would be the single greatest feat in medical history.

“I’m calling on my fellow G7 leaders to join us to end to this terrible pandemic and pledge will we never allow the devastation wreaked by coronavirus to happen again.”

G7 leaders will arrive in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, on Friday for three days of meetings on a huge range of global issues, with a particular focus on how the group can lead the global recovery from coronavirus.

During those sessions they will be joined virtually by experts, including Sir Patrick Vallance, Melinda French Gates and David Attenborough. On Saturday the G7 countries will be joined either in person or virtually by the leaders of Australia, South Africa, Republic of Korea and India for discussions on health and climate change.

As well as asking leaders to join the UK in efforts to vaccinate the world, the Prime Minister will call on them to support the Global Pandemic Radar – a new global surveillance system which will protect immunisation programmes against new vaccine resistant variants by detecting them before they have the chance to spread.

Alongside efforts to defeat the pandemic itself the Prime Minister will stress the need to build back better, with a recovery that puts opportunity, sustainability and democratic values at its heart.

This includes through living up to our responsibility to future generations to protect and preserve our planet. This is the first G7 where all members will have committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Prime Minister will ask leaders to channel this ambition and make strong commitments on cutting emissions, shifting to renewable energy and providing climate finance for developing countries ahead of the UK-hosted COP26 Summit later this year.

The Prime Minister will also tell leaders that it is essential that this prosperity is built on a foundation of fairness and opportunity for all – ensuring communities that have previously been excluded can realise the full benefits of global trade. In February G7 leaders committed to levelling up our economies so that no geographic region or person, irrespective of gender or ethnicity, is left behind.

It is expected that the Cornwall Summit will advance the work the UK and other G7 countries have done to make sure all girls have access to 12 years of quality education – the best way to lift communities out of poverty. Next month the UK will co-host the Global Partnership for Education Summit. Later this week the UK will announce its five-year pledge to the GPE, which is working in over 90 of the world’s poorest countries to get more children into school. The Prime Minister will also ask other leaders to make generous pledges to the fund.

Notes to Editors:

  • The G7 Summit will take place in Carbis Bay, Cornwall from 11th-13th June.
  • Leaders of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US will attend the Summit alongside the EU and European Commission Presidents. On Saturday they will be joined by leaders from Australia, South Africa, Republic of Korea and the UN Secretary General. Leaders of international organisations and the Indian Prime Minister will also attend the Summit virtually from Saturday.
  • In February the UK announced it would share the majority of any surplus vaccines with the COVAX scheme.