clearn.png
Thursday October 21st, 2021 9:14PM

G-7 vows 'equitable' world vaccine access, but details scant

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — Leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers promised Friday to immunize the world’s neediest people against the coronavirus by giving money, and precious vaccine doses, to a U.N.-backed vaccine distribution effort.

But the leaders, under pressure over their vaccination campaigns at home, were unwilling to say exactly how much vaccine they were willing to share with the developing world, or when.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the G-7 leaders held a virtual meeting that fair distribution of vaccines was “an elementary question of fairness.”

But she added, “No vaccination appointment in Germany is going to be endangered.”

After their first meeting of the year -- held remotely because of the pandemic -- the leaders said they would accelerate global vaccine development and deployment” and support “affordable and equitable access to vaccines” and treatments for COVID-19. They cited a collective $7.5 billion from the G-7 to U.N.-backed COVID=19 efforts.

“This is a global pandemic, and it’s no use one country being far ahead of another," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said as he opened the virtual summit with the leaders of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. The U.K. holds the G-7 presidency this year.

“We’ve got to move together,” Johnson said, speaking from the prime minister's 10 Downing St. residence to the other leaders in their far-flung offices. “So, one of the things that I know that colleagues will be wanting to do is to ensure that we distribute vaccines at cost around the world.”

Wealthy nations have snapped up several billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while some countries in the developing world have little or none.

G-7 leaders are eager to avoid looking greedy — and don't want to cede the terrain of vaccine diplomacy to less democratic but faster-moving countries such as China and Russia.

Johnson, whose country has reported almost 120,000 virus-related deaths, promised to give “the majority of any future surplus vaccines” to the U.N.-backed COVAX effort to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable people.

But Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly said it was “difficult to say with any kind of certainty” when or how much Britain could donate.

French President Emmanuel Macron gave a firmer target, saying Europe and the U.S. should allocate up to 5% of their current COVID-19 vaccine supplies to the poorest countries quickly.

“This is worth an enormous amount. It is worth our credibility,” Macron said after the meeting,

“If we can do this, then the West will have a presence” in African countries, he said. If not, those countries will turn to Chinese and Russian vaccines and “the power of the West will...not be a reality.”

Macron's office said France was ready to hand over 5% of its doses but would not give exact numbers or a date.

As the African continent awaits delivery of doses through COVAX, an African Union-created vaccines task force said Friday that it would be getting 300 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in May. The AU previously secured 270 million doses from AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson for the continent of 1.3 billion people.

The governments of Canada and the European G-7 nations are under pressure to speed up their domestic vaccination campaigns after being outpaced by Britain and the U.S.

Asked later Friday about Macron’s proposal, Germany's Merkel said that “we have not yet spoken about the percentage.”

“We haven’t yet spoken about the timing" either, the chancellor told reporters in Berlin. "That still has to be discussed.”

Development and aid groups welcomed the commitments but said rich Western countries needed to do more, and soon.

Gayle Smith, chief executive of anti-poverty group the ONE Campaign, said “world leaders are finally waking up to the scale of this crisis.”

“It beggars belief that in the midst of a global pandemic a handful of countries have accumulated over a billion vaccines more than they will need, while 130 countries have no vaccines at all," she said.

The summit marked Biden's his first major multilateral engagement since taking office. America's allies hope that U.S. re-engagement with the world following the “America first” years under former President Donald Trump will mean a more coordinated response on issues such as the pandemic and climate change.

Biden signed the U.S. up to the COVAX initiative, which Trump refused to support, and has pledged to distribute $4 billion in U.S. funding to the program.

The G-7 meeting — and a speech by Biden at the Munich Security Conference on Friday — comes the day the United States officially rejoins the Paris climate agreement, the largest international effort to curb global warming. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the landmark accord in 2017.

The Biden administration also said it was ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 deal to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions, which was repudiated by Trump.

In a joint statement reflecting the United States’ re-embrace of international institutions, the G-7 leaders vowed to “make 2021 a turning point for multilateralism and to shape a recovery that promotes the health and prosperity of our people and planet.”

They said post-pandemic economic recovery efforts must put the fight against climate change and dwindling biodiversity “at the center of our plans.”

A full G-7 summit is scheduled to take place in June at the Carbis Bay seaside resort in southwest England.

___

Associated Press writers Sylvie Corbet and Angela Charlton in Paris, Samuel Petrequin in Brussels, Geir Moulson in Berlin and Cara Anna in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed to this story.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
GOP source: Priebus mulling run for Wisconsin governor
Reince Priebus, a former White House chief of staff to Donald Trump, has called Republican donors and power brokers in Wisconsin to discuss a possible bid for governor or the U.S. Senate
1:05PM ( 1 minute ago )
G-7 vows 'equitable' world vaccine access, but details scant
Leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers have promised to immunize the world’s neediest people against the coronavirus by giving money and precious vaccine doses to a U.N.-backed vaccine distribution effort
12:47PM ( 18 minutes ago )
The Latest: WH adviser says US can catch up on vaccinations
White House coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt said the U.S. can catch up on vaccinations lost due to winter weather with concerted effort
12:46PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Texas grid operators say electrical system back to normal
Texas’ grid operators say the electrical system has returned to normal for the first time since a winter storm knocked out power to more than 4 million customers
12:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
UK top court gives Uber drivers benefits in landmark ruling
The U.K. Supreme Court has ruled that Uber drivers should be classed as “workers” and not self-employed
11:37AM ( 1 hour ago )
'Mom, can I buy stocks?' Teachable moments from GameStop
The recent stock market mania over the video game company GameStop, which this week was scrutinized by Congress, has provided a teachable moment for kids
11:31AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
US existing home sales, median price rose in January
Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes rose again last month, a sign that the housing market’s strong momentum from 2020 may be carrying over into this year
10:10AM ( 2 hours ago )
Stocks open higher on Wall Street after 3 straight losses
Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street following three straight days of losses
9:45AM ( 3 hours ago )
UK vows to share vaccines, but details thin as G-7 meets
Leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers are holding their first meeting of 2021, and getting coronavirus vaccines to people around the world is top of the agenda
7:22AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
The Latest: WH adviser says US can catch up on vaccinations
White House coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt said the U.S. can catch up on vaccinations lost due to winter weather with concerted effort
12:46PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Biden urges allies to show democracies can 'still deliver'
President Joe Biden has used his first big appearance on the global stage to call on fellow world leaders to demonstrate “democracies can still deliver" for people
12:44PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Cities slammed by winter storms face new crisis: No water
States slammed by winter storms that left millions without power for days have traded one crisis for another
12:40PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Biden to see Pfizer plant as weather delays shipping vaccine
Extreme winter weather is dealing the first major setback to the Biden administration’s planned swift rollout of coronavirus vaccines just as the national vaccination campaign was hitting its stride
12:34PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Somali security forces fire on protest over delayed election
Security forces in Somalia’s capital have fired on hundreds of people protesting the delay of the country’s election
12:32PM ( 33 minutes ago )