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G7 prepare to donate one billion vaccines to developing world

Special relationship between US and UK looks strong

By Ricky Browne

The UK has pledged to donate more than 100 million coronavirus vaccines to developing countries and the US has pledged to donate 500 million Pfizer vaccines, to help defeat the pandemic.

“As a result of the success of the UK’s vaccine programme we are now in a position to share some of our surplus doses with those who need them,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

“In doing so we will take a massive step towards beating this pandemic for good.”

The UK’s donations will start in the next few weeks, with five million doses in the first instance.

US President Joe Biden announced the US donation in a tweet yesterday.

“Today, I’m announcing that the United States will donate half a billion new Pfizer vaccines to 92 low- and lower middle-income countries. These Pfizer vaccines will save millions of lives around the world, and be produced through the power of American manufacturing,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, Johnson must have been pleased to have seen a tweet from Biden assuring that the special relationship between the UK and US remains strong. He attached with it a pic of him with his hand on Johnson’s shoulder.

Biden posted this photo in his tweet on the US UK ‘special relationship’

“The special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is stronger than ever. Thank you for hosting me today, Prime Minister Johnson.”

Johnson was quick to reply with his own tweet: “It was a pleasure to welcome you to Cornwall Mr President. Together we’re going to build back better from the pandemic, help to vaccinate the world and make 2021 the decisive moment in the fight against climate change.”

Other countries at the G7 Summit in St Ives, Cornwall this weekend are expected to also step up to the plate, and guarantee a total of more than a billion vaccines to roll out over the next 12 months.

Those countries include: France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. Of the group, only Japan is lagging in its vaccination campaign, but between them they should be able to donate another 400 million vaccines.

The G7 leaders line up for the family photo, along with EU representatives

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to be onboard with donating vaccines.

“At the @G7 today, we’re working with our partners to end the pandemic, get vaccines delivered around the world, build back better for everyone, and raise our ambition on climate action. We’ll continue to push for a resilient global recovery and stronger middle class, too,” Trudeau tweeted.

Trudeau is in line to become the longest serving G7 head of state when Angela Merkel steps down this autumn.

French President Emmanuel Macron also seemed to support the initiative.

“Making vaccines a global public good. Vaccinate the world. Now. That is the responsibility of the G7. That is the ambition that France is carrying,” Macron tweeted on Thursday.

Also on side was Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga.

“At the upcoming #G7 Summit, I will have frank discussions on the critical issues of COVID-19, climate change, the economy, and regional issues with the leaders of the other G7 nations, which share universal values,” he tweeted.

There were no tweets from Germany’s Angela Merkel or Italy’s Mario Draghi.

The move isn’t totally altruistic given that the longer Covid-19 exists, the more likely that new variants that challenge the effectiveness of existing vaccines, will come to the fore.

Already, the Delta variant – previously called the India variant – has been spreading at alarming rates in the UK, US, Canada and elsewhere. It is more contagious that other variants, and in the UK is threatening to stall the removal of coronavirus restrictions that has been pencilled in for June 21.

THE NEW ATLANTIC CHARTER

Meanwhile, any fears that there may be a wedge between the US and UK, seemed to be overstated – as Biden and Johnson signed the New Atlantic Charter, which basically signalled to the world that the two countries are on the same page in their foreign policies.

The White House released the charter on its website on Thursday.

“Today, the President of the United States and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom reaffirm their commitment to work together to realise our vision for a more peaceful and prosperous future,” the White House said.

“Our revitalised Atlantic Charter, building on the commitments and aspirations set out eighty years ago, affirms our ongoing commitment to sustaining our enduring values and defending them against new and old challenges. We commit to working closely with all partners who share our democratic values and to countering the efforts of those who seek to undermine our alliances and institutions,” the charter says.

The charter than lists eight resolutions on how the two countries intend to work together to help promote democracy and global development.

Though not named, it would appear that the two countries might view China and Russia as the main threat to the kind of world the two countries want to create.

Good buddies

“We must ensure that democracies – starting with our own – can deliver on solving the critical challenges of our time. We will champion transparency, uphold the rule of law, and support civil society and independent media. We will also confront injustice and inequality and defend the inherent dignity and human rights of all individuals.,” the charter states.

It might not be a trade deal, but it certainly demonstrates that the relationship between the two countries remains strong, even as Britain has left the EU.

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