Is the G7 announcement an example of global solidarity or a collective failure of leadership?

The G7 has pledged 870 million COVID-19 VACCINE doses, half of which will be delivered by the end of the year.

The Economist
Alan Lovell, Editor, The Economist Intelligence Unit
June 14, 2021

The statement reaffirmed the G7’s support for COVAX as “the primary route for providing vaccines to the poorest countries”. 


COVAX will work with the G7 and other countries that have donated doses to share them as rapidly and equitably as possible. 

It is hoped that this will help address short-term supply constraints and minimize the prospect of future variants.

Responses to this announcement have been mixed. 

  • Many have noted that this is a significant step in the ongoing global action plan. “This is an important moment of global solidarity and a critical milestone in the push to ensure those most at risk, everywhere are protected,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
  • Some have emphasise that more needs to be done, quicker. “Africa’s current vaccine supply shortage risks prolonging the pandemic, not just for millions on the continent, but for the whole world,” said Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, AMREF Health Africa. “I applaud the Group of Seven’s leadership in sharing doses with COVAX and urge them and others to share doses now, not later in the year, when our need is greatest.” 
  • Alex Harris at Wellcome added that “What the world needs is vaccines now, not later this year. We urge G7 leaders to raise their ambition”.
  • Others have been more blunt in their criticism. Oxfam’s health policy manager Anna Marriott said “If the best G7 leaders can manage is to donate 1 billion vaccine doses then this summit will have been a failure.

Demand of vaccines

To put this and other pledges in context, it has been calculated that 11 billion doses are required to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population — assuming two doses are given per person. This is the proportion that is likely needed to reach herd immunity.

Are low- and middle income countries ready to deliver at that scale? 


Certainly, in anticipation of large volumes of vaccines coming through the system later this year, COVAX is urging multilateral development banks to release funding to help countries prepare their health systems for the vaccine rollout.The World Bank is looking into vaccine health system readiness here.

Originally published at https://eiuperspectives.economist.com/

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