LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson will call for global cooperation on vaccine distribution at the first meeting of Group-of-Seven leaders since the U.K. assumed its rotating presidency.
Johnson will host a virtual gathering of G-7 leaders on Feb. 19 to discuss how the world’s leading democracies can work to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines to fight the coronavirus and prevent future pandemics, his office said in a statement.
Concerns about vaccine distribution is on the rise, with richer countries better positioned to secure supplies of the shots, while countries in the the developing world struggle to obtain doses. The U.S. has said it will have obtained 300 million doses of vaccines by July, and the U.K. has already administered about 15 million shots, while many poorer countries have yet to secure supplies.
Pandemic preparedness will be a major priority for the U.K. presidency of the G-7 and the Johnson government will be pushing a plan to build a global network of research hubs, boost vaccine manufacturing capacity and come up with early warning systems for new health threats, the document said.
“The solutions to the challenges we face – from the colossal mission to get vaccines to every single country, to the fight to reverse the damage done to our ecosystems and lead a sustainable recovery from coronavirus – lie in the discussions we have with our friends and partners around the world,” Johnson will tell the leaders.
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