Group of Seven countries will provide 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses over the next year and work with the private sector, the G20 and other countries to increase the contribution over months to come, according to an almost finalised draft of the communique.
“The commitments since we last met in February 2021 including here in Carbis Bay provide for 1 billion doses over the next year,” said the communique, seen by Reuters.
“We will work together with the private sector, the G20 and other countries to increase this contribution over the months to come,” the communique said.
Two sources said the draft had been largely finalised by diplomats who worked late into Saturday night to agree most of the text, though they said parts of the draft could change over coming hours.
There were few disagreements over the communique, which is going through final drafting, though Japan pushed for a tougher line on China, a diplomatic source said.
The G7 said in the draft that the vaccine donations built on exports from domestic production with at least 700 million doses exported or to be exported this year, of which at least 50% have gone to non G7 countries.
The group added that it had “a commitment to continue exporting in significant proportions; and the promotion of voluntary licensing and not-for-profit global production, which has so far accounted for 95% of the COVAX supply,” the communique said.
The COVAX facility, backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), aims to secure 2 billion vaccine doses for lower-income countries by the end of 2021.
“We reaffirm our support for all pillars of the ACT-A across treatments, tests and strengthening public health systems as well as vaccines,” the communique said.
The ACT-Accelerator partnership was designed to accelerate the design, production and distribution of vaccines.
“We support discussions regarding the extension of the ACT-A mandate into 2022, noting the planned comprehensive review to optimise its effectiveness and accountability.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden and his wife Jill went to church on Sunday morning before the final day of the Group of Seven summit in England, with his huge convoy of cars winding around the narrow lanes of Cornwall.
“Beautiful,” the president said, as he later emerged into the sunshine from the small Catholic church, The Sacred Heart and St. Ia, that sits above the bay of St Ives, located on the tip of southwest England.
With police outriders leading the way, a convoy of 17 mostly large black vehicles with flashing lights made their way along the quiet, tiny lanes of the Cornish fishing village before arriving at the church.
After leaving mass, Biden escorted his wife to her own vehicle before he returned to his, heading for the summit in the nearby village of Carbis Bay.
The G7 summit is due to finish in the early afternoon on Sunday and the couple will then travel to Windsor Castle to have tea with Queen Elizabeth.
Group of Seven leaders were trying to resolve differences over a proposal to reallocate $100 billion from the International Monetary Fund’s warchest to help countries struggling to cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
An almost final version of the G7 communique seen by Reuters showed Germany and Italy had yet to back the inclusion of the $100 billion figure in the final statement by leaders.
The IMF’s members agreed in April to a $650 billion increase in IMF’s Special Drawing Rights and the G7 countries are considering whether to reallocate $100 billion of their rights to help poor countries fight the COVID pandemic.
SDRs are the IMF’s reserve asset, and are exchangeable for dollars, euros, sterling, yen and Chinese yuan or renminbi. Member states can loan or donate their SDR reserves to other countries for their use.
The head of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, told reporters on the sidelines of the summit that she had been heartened by the G7’s support for the plan and that she expected a clear indication later on how best to proceed, adding that the $100 billion target had been in discussion.
Photo: EC Audiovisual service