At a virtual G7 meeting hosted by Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, yesterday (February 19) leaders increased their pledges to the WHO-led Covax global vaccine initiative to $7.5 billion.
The countries agreed during the call, lasting one hour 45 minutes, to share surplus vaccines with the developing world, and US President Joe Biden, speaking at his first big international meeting as president, promised an extra $4 billion for the Covax scheme, with $2 billion to be paid immediately.
As Biden made his debut as leader on the world stage the discussion centered on how to, in the words of British host Boris Johnson, “build back better” after the health crisis.
“We will continue to support our economies to protect jobs and support a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive recovery,” the G-7 said in a statement published after the call. “Recovery from Covid-19 must build back better for all.”
The G-7 nations
are committed to considering debt relief for developing nations and promised to eliminate net carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
The announcemnet comes following World Health Organisation
(WHO) plea for nearly $2 billion to fund its 2021 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) for Covid-19 response which, was launched on Thursday in Geneva.
The strategy follows the initial plan last year that outlined the path countries should take to suppress transmission of the new coronavirus.
Friday marks Biden’s first appearance at a G-7 meeting. Afterward, he will fly to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he will tour a Pfizer Covid vaccine manufacturing site and meet with the workers who are producing the vaccines.
"Fully funding the SPRP is not just an investment in responding to Covid-19, it’s an investment in the global recovery and in building the architecture to prepare for, prevent and mitigate future health emergencies," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking during his routine press conference.