Johnson Plans to Donate Surplus UK Vaccines to Poorer Nations

Boris Johnson who will announced a roadmap out of restrictions next week

The Prime Minister will also call on G7 leaders to support a treaty on pandemic preparedness through the WHO.

The announcement comes as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosts Justin Trudeau and their G7 counterparts for a virtual leaders' summit aimed at bringing renewed momentum to COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

It has secured deals with vaccine makers to purchase more than 2 billion doses using money donated by wealthier countries, though not all of those vaccines have been authorized for use yet. The first $500 million of that pledge will be available "rather quickly" to help spur other donations, the official said. The administration hopes that donation will encourage other countries to contribute more to the effort, which it estimates will cost $15 billion. However, it wasn't clear at the time when the United States might donate its own vaccine supply.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in an interview Thursday with the Financial Times, called on the US and European nations to allocate up to 5% of current vaccine supplies to developing countries - the kind of vaccine diplomacy that China and Russian Federation have begun deploying.

The vaccine is being rolled out in South Africa, for the first time outside a major clinical trial. The Biden administration official on a Thursday background call made clear the priority is vaccinating Americans.


The "majority" of any future United Kingdom surplus coronavirus vaccines will be shared with the World Health Organization-backed Covax program, Johnson's office said late Thursday in a statement. He also says it is too soon to say what Canada will do with any excess vaccines, but that Canada is committed to helping end the pandemic everywhere because that is in Canada's interest.

The federal government has agreed to top up its funding for vaccine rollouts in lower-income countries, pledging $75 million more to the COVAX worldwide vaccine-sharing program as other wealthy countries step up their commitment.

"Our filing with the World Health Organization marks another important step in our effort to combat COVID-19 and also in our unwavering commitment to equitable access", Paul Stoffels, Johnson & Johnson vice chairman of the executive committee, and chief scientific officer, said in a news release.

Outside of Covax, China, Russia and India have already begun donating or selling vaccines to their neighbours or allies, in what has been dubbed "vaccine diplomacy".

The Biden administration believes that supporting COVAX "is one of the best ways to expand access to Covid vaccines", the Biden official said, noting that the global effort works only with vaccines that meet World Health Organization standards for both safety and efficacy.

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