This week’s promise by the G7 group of nations to fund one billion Covid vaccines to poorer countries is not good enough, says UNI Global Union as it calls for greater action to enable vaccines for all.

While the G7 countries are expected to vaccinate all their populations by January 2022, at current rates it is projected to take until 2078 for the world’s poorest countries to do the same.

After meeting in Cornwall in the UK, the G7 countries released a statement pledging to “end the pandemic and prepare for the future by driving an intensified international effort, starting immediately, to vaccinate the world by getting as many safe vaccines to as many people as possible as fast as possible”.

However, much more needs to be done to achieve this task. UNI Global Union General Secretary, Christy Hoffman, said:

“This is a paltry and paternalistic promise from the G7 nations. One billion doses is nowhere near enough to vaccinate the world. We need a greater commitment to funding vaccines in poorer countries alongside an urgent waiver on intellectual property rights to enable lower income nations to produce and distribute Covid vaccines themselves.”

UNI Global Union has backed demands for a suspension of certain treatment-related intellectual property obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) with regard to Covid vaccines. In addition, UNI has joined the Global Call for Vaccines for All.

This week, the World Health Organization warned that Covid is outpacing vaccine programmes and 10,000 people are dying every day. It estimates that 11 billion doses are needed to vaccinate 70 per cent of the world’s population by the next G7 meeting in Germany in 2022.

“UNI calls on global leaders of the G7, the G20 and the European Union, to face up to the science and put self-interest aside. Without equitable access to vaccines and vaccine knowledge, we will never be free from the Covid pandemic.”