Aid groups appeal to G-7 for cash to get shots into arms
FALMOUTH, England (AP) — Rich nations must do more than just donate surplus vaccines if they hope to end the COVID-19 pandemic, according to public health experts and humanitarian groups that are calling for money, increased production and logistical support to help developing countries where the virus is still raging.
The appeal came after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped leaders of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations will agree to provide at least 1 billion vaccine doses for poorer countries. The G-7 leaders, who are holding their annual meeting this weekend in Cornwall, southwest England, continue to debate other forms of aid to get lifesaving vaccine shots into arms.
While almost half of the combined population of the G-7 nations has received at least one dose of vaccine the worldwide figure is less than 13%. In Africa, it’s just 2.2%.
Wealthy nations must act quickly not just out of altruism, but to protect their own citizens, because the virus will continue to mutate as long as it is allowed to spread unchecked, resulting in potentially more dangerous variants, said Lily Caprani, head of COVID-19 vaccines advocacy for UNICEF.
“(This) requires political will and urgent action now,” Caprani told The Associated Press. “So I think all of us should be urging our leaders to do it, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but it’s the smart thing to do, and it’s the only way out.”
Johnson, who is hosting the G-7 summit, and U.S. President Joe Biden opened the meeting by announcing that their countries would donate a total of 600 million vaccine doses over the next year.
But International Monetary Fund economists recently estimated it would cost $50 billion to vaccinate 60% of the world’s population by the middle of next year and that...