The United Nations and Oxfam have welcomed the move by G7 countries to donate vaccines to low-income countries but have called for more.
In the G7 summit that ended on Friday, June 11, the member countries agreed to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries.
Global waiver on COVID vaccines
However, Oxfam Health Policy Manager, Anna Marriot, said that if the best they could do was make the donations, then the summit would have been a failure. Marriot called for a global waiver on patent protection for the vaccines, saying that the world needed 11 billion doses and not 1 billion.
“Charity won’t fix the colossal vaccine supply crisis,” she said, “The G7 should break the pharmaceutical monopolies and insist that the vaccine science and know-how is shared with qualified vaccine manufacturers around the world.”
She called on other member states of the G7 to follow in the US and France’s move to waiver intellectual property on the COVID vaccine.
“The lives of millions of people in the developing countries should never depend on the goodwill of rich nations and profit-hungry pharmaceuticals.”
Global vaccination plan
The United Nations Head, Antoni Guterres, also welcomed the move but called for more action to prevent further mutation of the coronavirus.
“We need do to more than that,” he said of the G7 donation plan, “We need a global vaccination plan. We need to act will a sense of urgency and with the priorities of a war economy…but we are still far from getting that.”
In the G7 summit, the US confirmed reports that it would donate 500 million COVID-19 vaccines. The UK, meanwhile, announced that they would donate a further 100 million.
Canada also pledged 100 million doses, with other pledges following. But the donations remain far from addressing the challenges of vaccination in low-income countries.
Africa alone has a population of over 1.3 billion people, and thus far, less than 2 % of the people in the continent have gotten their COVID vaccines. Campaigners have been calling for waiving of the vaccine patent to allow the continent make its own vaccines
G7 COVID vaccine pledge to poorer countries lacks ambition, is slow and shows Western leaders are not yet on top of tackling the worst public health crisis in a century, say campaigners. https://t.co/CNdBSmgS2L
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) June 12, 2021