Vaccine-sharing commitments from US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set the stage for a G-7 meeting in south-west England, where leaders on Friday posted congratulations and a “family photo” directly to “Building Back Better”. “But will change in one session. from COVID-19. “
“Together with our global partners, we are going to help the world get out of this pandemic,” Biden said. The G-7 also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
The leaders hope that the meeting at the resort of Corbys Bay will also give energy to the global economy. On Friday, they are set to formally adopt a global minimum tax of at least 15% on corporations, following an agreement reached by their finance ministers a week ago. The minimum is meant to prevent companies from using tax havens and other means to avoid taxes.
It represents a potential victory for the Biden administration, which has proposed a global minimum tax to pay for infrastructure projects, in addition to creating an option that could remove some of the European countries’ digital services taxes. largely affect US tech firms.
For Johnson, the first G-7 summit in two years – sparked by last year’s pandemic – reflects his vision of a post-Brexit “global Britain” as a medium-sized country with an outsized role in the international problem. There is a chance to establish in – solve.
It is also an opportunity to underline the UK-US bond, an alliance often referred to as a “special relationship” – but Johnson said he prefers to call an “indestructible relationship”.
The official summit business begins on Friday, with customary formal greetings and a socially-distancing group photo. Later leaders will meet Queen Elizabeth II and other senior royals at the Eden Project, a lush, domed eco-tourism site built in a former mine.
G-7 leaders have faced increasing pressure to outline their global vaccine-sharing plans, especially as the disparity in supply has become more apparent around the world. In the US, there is a huge stockpile of the vaccine and the demand for shots has dropped drastically in recent weeks.
Biden said the US would donate 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and previewed a coordinated effort by advanced economies to make vaccinations widely and rapidly available everywhere. The commitment was on top of the 80 million doses Biden has already promised to donate by the end of June.
For his part, Johnson said the UK’s first 5 million doses would be shared in the coming weeks, with the remainder coming in the next year. He said he expects the G7 to commit to delivering 1 billion doses in total.
“At the G-7 summit, I hope my fellow leaders make a similar pledge, so that we can vaccinate the world by the end of next year and better fight the coronavirus,” Johnson said in a statement, citing a slogan. to build from.” He and Biden have both used .
French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the US commitment and said Europe should do the same. He said France would share at least 30 million doses globally by the end of the year.
Biden predicted the US dose and overall G-7 commitment would “supercharge” the global vaccination campaign, adding that the US dose comes with no strings attached.
The US commitment is to buy and donate 500 million Pfizer doses for distribution to 92 low-income countries and the African Union through the global COVAX alliance, providing the first steady supply of mRNA vaccine to countries that need it most is.
A senior White House official said the Pfizer agreement came with some urgency at Biden’s directive over the past four weeks, both to address critical needs overseas and to be prepared for an announcement at the G-7. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal plans, said the Biden administration should be applying the same wartime posture applied to vaccine rollouts in the US for its effort to share vaccines globally. was.
Biden said the US-manufactured doses will be launched in August, aiming to deliver 200 million by the end of the year. The remaining 300 million doses will be shipped in the first half of 2022. A price tag for the dose was not issued, but the US is now set to become COVAX’s largest vaccine donor in addition to its largest funder with a $4 billion commitment.
Humanitarian workers welcomed the donations – but said the world needed more doses and were hoping they would arrive soon. Big statements and promises need to be met with detailed plans backed by timelines for delivery, which starts immediately.
“If we have stop-start supplies or if we store all the supplies by the end of the year, it is very difficult for low-income countries with fairly fragile health care systems to actually get those vaccines from the tarmac. and in the arms of health care workers,” said Lily Caprani, head of COVID-19 vaccine advocacy at UNICEF. We seek a coordinated, time-bound, ambitious commitment starting in June and building the curriculum for the rest of the year. “
The global COVAX coalition has faced a slow start to its immunization campaign, as wealthy countries shun billions of doses through direct contracts with drugmakers. The coalition has distributed only 81 million doses globally and some parts of the world, particularly in Africa, remain vaccine deserts.
Officials said Biden’s move was meant to ensure that a large portion of the manufacturing capacity remained open to wealthy countries. Just last month, the European Commission signed an agreement to buy 1.8 billion Pfizer doses over the next two years, a significant portion of the company’s upcoming production – although the bloc reserves the right to donate some of its doses to COVAX .
White House officials said the ramped-up distribution program fits a theme Biden plans to hit frequently during his week in Europe: Western democracies, and not authoritarian states, can provide the best for the world. Huh.
In his remarks, Biden pointed to Detroit-area activists who built tanks and planes 80 years ago “that helped defeat the threat of global fascism in World War II.”
China and Russia share their domestically produced vaccines with some needy countries, often with hidden strings attached. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden wants to “show the rest of the world’s democracies – that democracies are countries that can deliver the best solutions for people everywhere.”
Miller reported from Washington. Lawless reported from Falmouth, England. AP writers Danica Kirka in Falmouth, Sylvie Corbett in Paris and Jonathan Lemire in Plymouth, England contributed to this report.