Hundreds of former leaders urge G7 to vaccinate poor people against COVID-19 By Reuters
© Reuters. A medical worker prepares a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination after Israel approves the use of the vaccine for young people aged 12 to 15, at a Clalit healthcare maintenance organization in Ashkelon, Israel, June 6, 2021. REUTERS / Amir Coh
LONDON (Reuters) – Around 100 former presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers have urged wealthy Group of Seven (G7) countries to pay for global coronavirus vaccinations to help stop the virus’s mutation and its back as a global threat.
The leaders made their appeal ahead of the G7 summit in England which begins on Friday, when US President Joe Biden will meet with leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan.
In their letter to the G7, former world leaders said global cooperation failed in 2020, but 2021 could usher in a new era.
“G7 and G20 support that makes vaccines readily available to low- and middle-income countries is not an act of charity, but rather is in the strategic interest of each country,” the letter said.
Among the signatories were former British prime ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, former UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and 15 former African leaders.
They said the G7 and other leaders invited to the summit should guarantee to pay what would amount to around $ 30 billion a year over two years to tackle the global pandemic.
“For the G7, paying is not charity, it is self-protection to prevent disease from spreading, mutating and coming back to threaten us all,” Brown said.
“Costing just 30 pence ($ 0.43) per person per week in the UK is a small price to pay for the best insurance policy in the world,” he added in a statement.
Their advocacy coincided with a survey by the charity Save the Children which found strong public support in the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Canada for the G7 to pay the $ 66 billion. dollars needed for COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
In Britain, 79% were in favor of such a policy, while 79% of Americans supported the proposal, according to the poll. Support was lowest in France, where 63% were in favor.
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