British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at next week’s G7 summit will urge leaders to commit to vaccinate the whole world against coronavirus by the end of 2022, Downing Street said Saturday.
Britain will host the event in Cornwall in southwestern England starting June 11 with leaders of France, Italy, Japan, Germany, the United States and Canada attending.
The British prime minister will call on fellow G7 leaders to make concrete commitments to “vaccinate the entire world against coronavirus by the end of 2022”, the statement said.
“Vaccinating the world by the end of next year would be the single greatest feat in medical history,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying.
Johnson added that “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.”
Downing Street pointed to the British government’s successes in backing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and making it available at cost price around the world, as well as its support for the Covax scheme providing supplies to developing countries.
But facing growing calls to ensure a fairer global distribution of vaccine doses, the G7 health ministers at a meeting on Friday failed to break new ground, reiterating previous commitments to share doses through Covax “as soon as possible.”
Later this week Johnson will announce more detail on plans by the British government to “share a significant majority of its surplus doses”, Saturday’s statement said.
Britain’s efficient vaccine rollout has caused cases and hospitalizations to fall massively, but some experts warn that rising numbers of cases of the new “Delta” variant could threaten this progress.
The variant first identified in India is reportedly more easily transmitted and more likely to cause serious illness.
Cases of the virus in the UK have recently begun rising more steeply, even though 27 million adults have received both jabs.
Britain already has the highest number of Coronavirus deaths in Europe, at 127,823.