Starting tomorrow, the most important G7 summit in history will take place. In any case, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that. The global fight against the coronavirus is high on the agenda of the leaders of the seven major economies.
Under the chairmanship of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the rich countries will discuss how to ensure that the rest of the world has access to adequate vaccines. Johnson wants the entire world‘s population to be vaccinated by the end of 2022. He will explain how the G7 will do this tomorrow at the Cornwall summit.
More than 2.2 billion doses of a coronav vaccine have been administered worldwide. Theoretically, 28 out of 100 people can get one dose. It would also have been possible to fully vaccinate all over 700 million 65+ people in the world with these vaccines.
But the practice is different:
While Western countries are on course to vaccinate more than half of their adult population this summer, in sub-Saharan Africa 1 in 100 adults will be vaccinated by that time.
The situation has been particularly acute since India stopped exporting vaccines due to the coronacrisis in that country. That’s why Africa fished behind the net. “Of the nearly two billion doses administered worldwide, about 1% went to sub-Saharan Africa,” said WHO‘s Phionah Atuhebwe to the BBC.
Eighteen African countries have no or almost no vaccines left. Morocco, Rwanda and Swaziland have nothing left, and Kenya, Ghana and Malawi will be out of stock in a few weeks. Countries such as Syria, Papua New Guinea, Venezuela, Haiti, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan also stand empty-handed.
Thus, the vaccinations administered are divided:
Another comparison: currently around 4.6 million people in the G7 countries are vaccinated daily. At this rate, every G7 resident will be fully vaccinated in the first week of 2022. The poorest countries, at their present rate, will not have vaccinated their entire population until 57 years from now.
The WHO wants Western countries to wait to vaccinate their young people and first share their remaining vaccines with the poorest countries. The organisation points out that even doctors and nurses are unvaccinated in many countries, and that the pandemic could cost more lives this year than in 2020.
Experts have been warning for months that major vaccination inequality poses a danger to the entire world’s population, as new variants of the coronavirus will emerge everywhere where too many people are unvaccinated.
For example, the rate of vaccination varies from continent to continent:
The G7 countries are not in the same direction. The US has voted in favour of lifting the patent protection of vaccines so that poorer countries can start producing them themselves. Europe is holding off the boat in this respect.
President Biden also wants to donate 500 million doses of vaccine to poorer countries. Those doses have yet to be bought. The United Kingdom claims that it has no surplus, so handing out to others would not be an option for the British.
The European Union, on the other hand, claims to donate at least 100 million doses to distressed countries by the end of this year. The EU will do this through the COVAX programme for the distribution of vaccines. That seems to be an enormous amount, but Covax itself calls for twenty times as many vaccines: 2 billion doses in total. That is why the programme is also seeking help broader than the G7, in talks with China, India and other potential donor countries.