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G7 Leaders Are Shooting Themselves In The Foot By Failing To Tackle Global Vaccine Access

Ahead of the virtual meeting of G7 leaders hosted by the
UK government on Friday 19 February, Amnesty International
has warned that failure to ensure global access to vaccines
represents an abject moral failure that will ultimately harm
rich countries.

“The leaders of G7 nations are
shooting themselves in the foot by failing to ensure the
equal distribution of coronavirus vaccines globally,” said
Netsanet Belay, Research and Advocacy Director at Amnesty

“Giving money to COVAX, though welcome,
is not enough. And suggestions like sharing a paltry five
percent of their vaccine supplies with poor countries are
just insultingly small.

“The promise of “building back
better” rings hollow when G7 nations are the major culprits
in blocking a proposal at the World Trade Organisation to
suspend intellectual property rights during the pandemic,
which would make it easier for other countries and companies
to manufacture vaccines.

“Nor has any G7 country
pressed vaccine producers, whom they have funded with vast
sums of public money, to share their knowledge and
technology through the World Health Organization and
therefore allow more vaccines to be produced.

“It is
outrageous that these rich nations who have already hoarded
most of the world’s vaccine supply are preventing others
from producing more of this life-saving medicine.”

G7 nations, including the European Union, have bought up
over half the world’s vaccine supply, despite representing
just 13% of the world’s population, and have enough doses
on order to vaccinate their populations almost three times
over. To date, half the world’s vaccine doses have been
administered in these countries, while 130 countries have
yet to administer a single shot.

“This is an abject
moral failure and will ultimately come to harm G7
countries,” said Netsanet Belay.

“As long as the virus
continues to spread and mutate elsewhere, no one is safe
until we are all safe. We are calling on G7 leaders to
recognize the unique position they are in to change the
course of this pandemic and do everything in their power to
remove the roadblocks to scaling up global vaccine

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