Cape Breton Post
G7’s vaccine plan impact counts past pledges
A G7 plan to donate a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries will have limited impact because it includes some previous pledges, but it still offers a small lifeline to a global vaccine buying system, according to some experts.
Leaders from the Group of Seven major economies announced the move on Friday. A U.S. initiative announced on Thursday to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech SE vaccine is part of the G7 pledge.
Many of the promised doses will flow through COVAX, a global vaccine buying system backed by the World Health Organization and Gavi, the vaccine alliance.
The pledge does not represent entirely new resources, and the donation is far short of the 5-6 billion shots needed by poorer nations. Moreover, the plan does not address distribution gaps that could make it difficult to deliver doses.
But experts said it is still a much-needed boost to COVAX, which has so far only distributed 83 million shots worldwide.
COVAX has struggled to secure deliveries as wealthy nations reserve enough shots to vaccinate their populations several times over.
“It’s going to rescue COVAX from its pretty dire predicament right now, so it’s a very significant step,” said Stephen Morrison, the director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank.
The United Kingdom’s 100-million dose pledge is “entirely new” according to a spokesperson. But the European Union’s 100-million dose commitment was promised during a summit in May, and the U.S. commitment partially replaces earlier promises to fund COVAX directly.