G7 Plans New Vaccine Program for Developing Nations -Yomiuri

TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) – The Group of Seven rich nations will agree to establish a new vaccine distribution program for developing countries during next week’s leaders summit, the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri reported on Saturday.

It added that, citing Japanese sources, G20 nations like India, and international groups including the World Health Organization and World Bank, will also participate.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, COVAX, backed up by WHO and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), provided nearly 2 billion doses coronavirus vaccination to emerging countries.

COVAX was unable to ensure equitable access because wealthy nations prioritized shots for their citizens, while poorer countries lacked adequate storage facilities, causing delays in supply and the disposal of millions doses that were close to expiring.

The paper stated that the new program will pool rainy day funds to purchase and produce vaccines, and invest in low temperature storages, and train health workers for the next pandemic.

Japan, the chair of this year's G7 meeting, is looking to gain support from emerging nations to counteract the growing influence of China, Russia and other countries.

The G7 Finance Ministers met on Saturday and agreed to provide aid to countries with low-and middle-incomes to increase their participation in the supply chain for energy products.

The Yomiuri reported that the G7 grouping, which includes Britain, Canada and the European Union as well as France, Germany, Italy and Japan, is debating whether or not to make a declaration on the global pandemic response during the summit taking place in Hiroshima from May 19-21.

The G20 Summit, which will be held in India in September this year, is expected to discuss the details of the new vaccination program.