Where the US leads others tend to follow. In total, the G7 is expected to promise one billion shots this weekend. The UK – which is currently facing supply problems of its own – announced it would share 100m doses with the rest of the world over the next 12 months.
Canada is expected to make a similar pledge and others including France, Germany, Italy and Spain have all promised to share stocks.
But while the headline numbers sound impressive, vaccine exports from China – which currently account for more than the rest of the world combined, at more than 323m – still dominate.
And the small print on the western pledges may not bode well for bridging the gap in Covax’s short term supply. The UK will only donate 25m doses before Christmas and, while US exports will start in August, only 200m of its shots will arrive with Covax this year.
As things stand today, more people have been vaccinated in Cornwall than in the world’s 22 poorest nations combined.
“What the world needs is vaccines now, not later this year,” says Alex Harris, director of government relations at Wellcome. “The new US and UK commitments are a step in the right direction, but they don’t go far enough, fast enough.”