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Boris Johnson will pledge to give millions of UK’s surplus Covid-19 vaccine jabs to poorer countries

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Britain is to donate millions of surplus vaccine doses to poorer countries, Boris Johnson will announce today.

The Prime Minister’s pledge could see developing nations benefit before the end of the year if the UK vaccination programme goes to plan.

As Britain takes over the G7 presidency, Mr Johnson will also urge other world leaders to support an ambitious target to develop new vaccines in 100 days – a third of the time it took to create the Pfizer jab.

Today’s virtual G7 meeting will be Mr Johnson’s first major multilateral summit with new US President Joe Biden

They are due to meet in person at a scaled-down summer G7 summit in Cornwall – with attendees subjected to a strict Covid testing regime.

Boris Johnson (pictured at the vaccination centre at Cwmbran Stadium in Cwmbran, south Wales) will announce that Britain is to donate millions of surplus vaccine doses to poorer countries

Boris Johnson (pictured at the vaccination centre at Cwmbran Stadium in Cwmbran, south Wales) will announce that Britain is to donate millions of surplus vaccine doses to poorer countries

Mr Johnson will vow to share up to 75 per cent of the UK’s surplus vaccine supplies with developing nations under the international Covax initiative.

Countries such as Ireland, which have been hard-hit by production problems, could benefit – although no firm decisions have yet been made.

The details of Britain’s donation will be settled later this year, once it has been determined whether residents require third doses or booster jabs for emerging variants.

The UK has ordered more than 400million jabs from seven different companies, including 100million doses of the Oxford vaccine. 

The total number of orders works out at around five vaccine doses per head – meaning there should be a sizeable surplus.

Doses could be deemed surplus to our requirements while still in production, meaning they could be diverted to those in need without ever reaching British shores.

The UK hopes to have offered a vaccine to its entire adult population by the autumn – but the World Health Organisation has warned of a looming ‘catastrophic moral failure’ amid concerns that poorer countries would struggle to secure supplies. 

The Covax group has already agreed deals for 1.1billion doses. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said yesterday: ‘Vaccinating everyone, everywhere, is our collective way out of this pandemic.

A woman receives the AstraZeneca vaccine at an NHS vaccination centre in Ealing, west London

A woman receives the AstraZeneca vaccine at an NHS vaccination centre in Ealing, west London

The Prime Minister will also urge other world leaders to support an ambitious target to develop new vaccines in 100 days

The Prime Minister will also urge other world leaders to support an ambitious target to develop new vaccines in 100 days

‘The UK is clear that as a world leader we have a moral and national interest in making this happen, which is why we are committing to share the majority of any future surplus doses with Covax to support the countries who need them most.

‘We are already one of the biggest donors to Covax, helping to get more than one billion doses to the world’s poorest people.

‘International co-operation has to be at the heart of this effort, so we are calling on the G7 and other nations to step up support to get vaccines to everyone.’

Today’s virtual summit will see Mr Johnson urge Britain’s fellow members – the US, Japan, Canada, Germany, France and Italy – to increase funding for Covax.

In addition, he will call on the group to support the 100-day target set by the international Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi) for developing and approving new vaccines and treatments.

Mr Johnson’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance is to work with the WHO and Cepi, along with industry experts, in the drive to secure faster results.

‘Perhaps more than ever, the hopes of the world rest on the shoulders of scientists,’ Mr Johnson will say. ‘Over the last year, like countless times before, they have risen to the challenge.

It comes as the Prime Minister prepares for his first major multilateral summit with the new US President Joe Biden today

It comes as the Prime Minister prepares for his first major multilateral summit with the new US President Joe Biden today

‘The development of viable coronavirus vaccines offers the tantalising prospect of a return to normality, but we must not rest on our laurels. As leaders of the G7 we must say today ‘never again’. 

By harnessing our collective ingenuity, we can ensure we have the vaccines, treatments and tests to be battle-ready for future health threats.’

Today’s video conference marks the first meeting of the G7 since last April, with leaders due to travel to England in June.

Officials insisted yesterday that the Cornwall summit is likely to go ahead in person, albeit on a much smaller scale than previous meetings.

Mr Johnson, Mr Biden and others will be subjected to rigorous virus testing, and a ‘bubble’ system will be used to prevent the spread of infection.

The Prime Minister has also invited the leaders of India, South Korea and Australia to Cornwall, with a view to creating a ‘D10’ group of leading democracies. 

Issues on the agenda will include climate change and the economic recovery following the Covid crisis. 

This post was first published on DailyMail.

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