British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK will donate 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to developing countries as part of efforts to share vaccines with countries that sorely lack them.
Johnson’s announcement came as he arrived in Rome for the G20 summit, which begins on Saturday.
The UK says 10 million doses have been sent to the UN-backed COVAX Vaccine Sharing Programme, with another 10 million doses to follow in the coming weeks.
They join the 10 million doses already delivered, and form part of Britain’s commitment to share 100 million doses with countries in need by mid-2022.
Johnson urged the Club of Economic Powers to push for a global vaccination by the end of 2022, saying that “our first priority as the G20 must be to move forward with the rapid, equitable and global distribution of vaccines.” Britain and other rich countries have been accused of stockpiling more vaccines than they need, while some countries, especially in Africa, have few or no vaccines at all. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the World Health Organization’s health envoy, has urged G20 countries to speed things up and fly unused doses to the developing world.
The British leader also hopes to focus G20 minds on climate commitments as he prepares to host the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, starting on Sunday.