British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) affluent nations to commit to vaccinating the entire globe against COVID-19 by the end of 2022 when they meet next week in Britain.
Johnson will host the first in-person summit of G7 leaders in over two years, following a meeting of the group’s finance ministers earlier in the day, and has stated he will seek a guarantee to fulfil the worldwide vaccine goal.
“Vaccinating the world by the end of next year would be the single greatest feat in medical history,” Johnson said in a statement. “I’m calling on my fellow G7 leaders to join us to end this terrible pandemic and pledge we will never allow the devastation wreaked by coronavirus to happen again.”
The leaders of Germany, France, the United States, Italy, Japan, the European Union, and Canada will join Johnson for the three-day summit, which begins on Friday in Cornwall, south-west England. It will be US President Joe Biden’s first international trip since taking office in January.
While the richest countries have vaccinated substantial portions of their populations, many poorer countries have not had the same level of access to vaccinations. Health officials have also cautioned that unless additional COVID injections are supplied, the virus will continue to spread and evolve.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who was in London for the conference of finance ministers, said it was critical for the richest countries to encourage vaccines in poorer countries that could not afford them.
She also reiterated the US view that patent rights for vaccinations should be eliminated, and stated that they were doing everything possible to resolve supply chain issues that were preventing a buildup of injections in other regions of the world.
Britain has bought more than 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccination for its 67 million inhabitants and has said that any injections that are not required would be donated.