G7 plans new vaccine effort for developing nations, Yomiuri reports

Italy’s Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti, Joachim Nagel, President of Germany’s federal reserve Bundesbank, Japan’s Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda, Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco, Canada’s Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem, World Bank President David Malpass, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde, France’s Director General of the Treasury Emmanuel Moulin, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe and other delegates attend a family photo session at the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ meeting in Niigata, Japan. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Group of Seven (G7) rich nations are set to agree on establishing a new programme to distribute vaccines to developing countries at next week’s summit of leaders, Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper said on Saturday.

In addition to the G7, G20 nations such as India and international groups such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank will participate, it added, citing Japanese government sources.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the COVAX facility, backed by WHO and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), delivered nearly 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine to 146 countries.

However, COVAX faced setbacks in ensuring equitable access, as wealthy nations prioritised shots for their citizens while insufficient storage facilities in poorer nations caused supply delays and disposal of millions of close-to-expiry doses.

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The new program aims to pool rainy-day funds for vaccine production and purchases, as well as investment in low-temperature storage and training of health workers to prepare for the next global pandemic, the Yomiuri said.

Japan, this year’s chair of the G7 meetings, looks to build support from emerging nations on wide-ranging issues such as supply chains, food security and climate change to counter the growing influence of China and Russia.

Saturday’s meeting of G7 finance ministers agreed to offer aid to low- and middle-income countries to help increase their role in supply chains for energy-related products.

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At a meeting on Saturday G7 finance and health ministers called for a new global financing framework to “deploy necessary funds quickly and efficiently in response to outbreaks without accumulating idle cash”, they said in a statement.

The G7 will collaborate with the WHO and the World Bank, which manages an international pandemic fund, to explore the new funding scheme ahead of an August meeting of G20 finance and health ministers in India, they said.

The G7 grouping of Britain, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, is considering whether to issue a statement on the global pandemic response at the May 19-21 summit in Japan’s city of Hiroshima, the Yomiuri said.

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