Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

NewsDefeat Poverty

100+ Ex-World Leaders Call on Boris Johnson to Deliver on Vaccine Sharing Ahead of G7 Summit

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The United Nations’ 17 Global Goals set a roadmap to end extreme poverty by 2030. But the COVID-19 pandemic has hugely undermined progress on achieving these goals. The quickest way to end the pandemic and ensure the world gets back on track is to make sure all countries have access to vaccines and a chance to recover, a process that is being thwarted by rich nations hoarding vaccines. To find out more about vaccine equity and take action, join us here.

The eyes of the world are on Britain this week.

From June 11, some of the most powerful politicans on the planet will gather in Cornwall, as the UK hosts the G7 Summit where the pressure is on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to show bold leadership with amibitious commitments to help end the COVID-19 pandemic.

For a host of more than 100 former prime ministers, presidents, and foreign ministers, that means the world's wealthiest countries stepping up to fill a funding gap to get tests, treatments, and vaccines to low-income countries.

Previous UK prime ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair are among the 230 figures who have signed an open letter addressed to G7 countries including Britain.

Right now there is a $66 billion (£46.6 billion) funding gap to vaccinate low-income countries against the virus, and the letter is calling on G7 countries — made up of the UK, US, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, and Japan — to contribue to two-thirds of that.

Related Stories June 4, 2021 How Many COVID-19 Vaccines Has the UK Actually Donated to Poorer Countries?

Although Johnson tweeted on Saturday that he would use the G7 Summit to "ask my fellow leaders to help vaccinate the world by the end of next year", he has made similar promises before.

In Febuary, he pledged to G7 leaders that the UK would donate all its surplus vaccines to low-income countries. Four months on, and not a single vaccine has been shared.

“The year 2020 witnessed a failure of global cooperation, but 2021 can usher in a new era," the letter reads, according to the Guardian, which has seen the letter ahead of the summit. "No one anywhere is safe from COVID-19 until everyone is safe everywhere."

It adds: “Support from the G7 and G20 that makes vaccines readily accessible to low- and middle-income countries is not an act of charity, but rather is in every country’s strategic interest, and as described by the IMF [International Monetary Fund] is ‘the best public investment in history.'”

Indeed, Brown called their plan “the best insurance policy in the world” — costing the equivalent of just 30p per person per week for every person in the UK. By 2025, Brown said bold action now could save around $9 trillion.

The letter highlights polling that found that majority of British public believes the UK government should share COVID-19 vaccines. 

Research commissioned by Global Citizen, Save the Children, the Wellcome Trust, and the ONE Campaign, found that 76% of people agreed the UK was at risk while the virus was thriving elsewhere in the world, and 67% believed that the UK should share vaccines immediately. 

Former UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon was also among the signatories for the letter, as well as former Irish President Mary Robinson and 15 former African leaders, including ex-presidents FW de Klerk of South Africa, John Mahama of Ghana, and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, according to the Guardian.

Related Stories May 11, 2021 Majority of British Public Believes UK Should Share COVID-19 Vaccines: Poll

The funding from G7 countries would go to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), a facility set up to get tests, treatments, and vaccines to the world's poorest countries and also manages the COVAX programme. You can find out more about how it works here

In addition to addressing the funding gap, the letter asks G7 leaders to step up on sharing surplus vaccines and temporarilty waive intellectual property rights on vaccines so low-income countries, making the rest of this year “a turning point in global cooperation”.

Global Citizen is also calling on Boris Johnson to use the G7 Summit as an opportunity to commit to a timeline to donate its 100 million surplus vaccines, and work with other world leaders to get at least 1 billion vaccines doses to low-income countries by September, and 2 billion doses by the end of the year. Join us and take action here