Rich nations pledge 1 billion vaccine doses to developing countries, as they plan to expand manufacturing

UK – The UK has pledged to donate least 100 million surplus coronavirus vaccine doses within the next year, including 5 million beginning in the coming weeks. The announcement was made prior to the G-7 summit, whose leaders are expected to commit to provide 1 billion doses in efforts to end the pandemic by 2022.

At the Summit, world leaders are expected to announce they will provide at least 1 billion coronavirus vaccine doses to the world through dose sharing and financing and set out a plan to expand vaccine manufacturing in order to achieve that goal.

The UK will donate 5 million doses by the end of September, beginning in the coming weeks, primarily for use in the world’s poorest countries. UK Prime Minister has also committed to donating a further 95 million doses within the next year, including 25 million more by the end of 2021. 80% of the 100m doses will go to COVAX and the remainder will be shared bilaterally with countries in need.

This donation will meet an immediate demand for vaccines for the country’s worst affected by coronavirus and significantly reduce the threat posed by vaccine-resistant variants emerging in areas with large-scale outbreaks.

The UK helped to establish COVAX last year and is its fourth biggest donor, pledging $666.4m to the scheme. COVAX has so far provided 81 million doses to 129 of the world’s poorest countries. 96% of these were the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the development of which was funded by the UK.

With the support of the UK Government, Oxford-AstraZeneca are distributing their vaccines on a not-for-profit basis the world. Thanks to this commitment, half a billion people have received a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca so far.

“Since the start of this pandemic the UK has led the way in efforts to protect humanity against this deadly disease. Over a year ago we funded the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on the basis it would be distributed at cost to the world. At the G7 Summit I hope my fellow leaders will make similar pledges so that, together, we can vaccinate the world by the end of next year and build back better from coronavirus,” said UK’s Prime Minister.

Leaders meeting at the G-7 are expected to discuss how to expand the supply of vaccines internationally, with the Prime Minister asking the group to encourage pharmaceutical companies to adopt the Oxford-AstraZeneca model of providing vaccines of cost for the duration of the pandemic.

Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have already pledged to share 1.3 billion doses on a non-profit basis with developing countries. US also made a pledge to donate 500 million doses. The first 200 million doses from the will start to arrive in countries in August, the White House and manufacturer Pfizer said, with the rest following in the first half of 2022.

Leaders are expected to discuss additional ways to support countries experiencing acute coronavirus emergencies and put in place mechanisms to prevent future pandemics. This follows on from commitments made at the virtual meeting of G7 leaders earlier this year.

The doses the UK has announced it will donate today will be drawn from the UK’s expected excess supply. The 100 million figure has been calculated based on the total needed to vaccinate the UK population, factoring in the possibility of future vaccine-resistant strains being detected and potential disruptions to our supply.

Later this year the UK will also host the UN climate change conference, COP26 and the nation is working with UN and partners to provide vaccines to accredited delegations who might not have prior access for safe attendance to the conference.

This will mean that those countries most affected by climate change are better able to participate fully in discussions about creating a greener future for the planet.

The vaccines will be drawn from across the UK’s surplus of Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Janssen, Moderna and others, based on the UK’s only supply and requirements over time.

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