Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research



UNICEF welcomes G7 leaders’ commitments to donate COVID vaccine doses, calls for accelerated timetable
Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore
NEW YORK, 13 JUNE 2021 – “We welcome the commitment this week by leaders of G7 nations to accelerate the rollout of safe, effective, accessible and affordable vaccines for the poorest countries, with a goal toward ending the pandemic in 2022. Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines represents the clearest pathway out of this pandemic for all of us — children included, and commitments announced by G7 members last week are an important step in this direction.

“UNICEF is particularly pleased that some of the dose donations will be made available immediately to supplement ongoing shortfalls. However, time is still of the critical essence.

“UNICEF thanks G7 member states for their pledges and continued support. UNICEF also thanks all our ambassadors and supporters who are sharing their voices in extending a call for immediate and significant dose donations. If we are to make good on the collective pledge of ending the pandemic next year, much work remains.


“Even as many citizens in high-income countries begin to contemplate post-vaccination life, in low-income countries, the future appears quite bleak. More people have died of COVID-19 already this year than in the whole of 2020, led by outbreaks in numerous countries where vaccines remain out of reach. We are particularly worried about the surges in South America, Asia and Africa.

“As the pandemic rages, the virus mutates and produces new variants that could potentially threaten the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. We are in a fierce race. Donating doses now is smart policy that speaks to our collective best interests.

“Several forecasts suggest that G7 countries will have enough vaccine supplies to donate 1 billion doses by as early as the end of 2021.

“In addition to these generous vaccine pledges, UNICEF and the many organizations and countries involved with distribution and readiness need clear timelines regarding when the vaccines will be available. This is a particularly important element for successfully delivering the vaccines in countries with poor health infrastructure.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of children, affecting every aspect of their lives: their health, education, protection and future prosperity. Now, more than ever, what we do today will have significant and lasting impact on our collective tomorrows. There is no time to waste.”



Outgoing U.N. aid chief slams G7 for failing on vaccine plan
Michelle Nichols
Reuters, 14 June 2021
UNITED NATIONS, June 14 (Reuters) – Outgoing U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock slammed the Group of Seven wealthy nations on Monday for failing to come up with a plan to vaccinate the world against COVID-19, describing the G7 pledge to provide 1 billion doses over the next year as a “small step.”


“These sporadic, small-scale, charitable handouts from rich countries to poor countries is not a serious plan and it will not bring the pandemic to an end,” Lowcock, who steps down on Friday, told Reuters. “The G7, essentially, completely failed to show the necessary urgency.”

The leaders of the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada met in Cornwall, England over the weekend and also agreed to work with the private sector, the Group of 20 industrialized nations and other countries to increase the vaccine contribution over months to come.
“They took a small step – at that very, very nice resort in Cornwall – but they shouldn’t kid themselves it’s more than a small step and they have still have a lot to do,” Lowcock said.


“What the world needed from the G7 was a plan to vaccinate the world. And what we got was a plan to vaccinate about 10% of the population of low and middle income countries, maybe by a year from now or the second half of next year,” he said.

In May, the International Monetary Fund unveiled a $50 billion proposal to end the COVID-19 pandemic by vaccinating at least 40% of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and at least 60% by the first half of 2022.

“That is the deal of the century,” said Lowcock, adding that the G7 could also have done a lot more to provide vital supplies – such as oxygen ventilators, testing kits and protective equipment – to countries who are going to have to wait longer for vaccines.

[In May 2017, Mr. Mark Lowcock of the United Kingdom was appointed as the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)]



G7 Summit was a missed opportunity for action and funding needed to end COVID-19 pandemic
June 16, 2021 by PATH
Last week, leaders from the Group of Seven (G7)—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—came together to discuss, among other things, an ambitious goal to build stronger health systems to protect the world from future pandemics.

While we were pleased to see a bold commitment from the US government to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to the world’s lowest income nations, the G7 failed to provide an overall blueprint for investment or action that the world desperately needs to end this pandemic and prepare for the next.

Leaders acknowledged the need to vaccinate a majority of the global population to end the pandemic by 2022 but failed to agree on a global roadmap to bolster political will and spur action to achieve herd immunity. The G7 communique rightly prioritizes increased coordination around global vaccine manufacturing capacity, but again lacked any strategy for how do so. And we were pleased to see ongoing support from G7 nations for the extension of the ACT-Accelerator and increased transparency around vaccine procurement and delivery to both donor and recipient countries, but with the current US$18.1 billion funding gap, meaningful support requires greater funding commitments.

World leaders from the wealthiest countries have a responsibility to act—and fund—an inclusive COVID-19 response that will put an end to the acute phase of the pandemic and save lives. We will continue to demand that G7 leaders back their statements with the funding and outline of tangible action needed to bring the world past the current crisis and prepare for the next.