Ahead of G7 Leaders Summit in the UK this weekend, a joint letter by UNICEF goodwill ambassadors urged G7 leaders to share at least 20 per cent of available COVID-19 vaccine doses or risk resurgence.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas, David Beckham, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Whoopi Goldberg, Angélique Kidjo, and Liam Neeson lent their voice to a call by 28 high-profile UNICEF Ambassadors and Supporters demanding that G7 leaders commit to donating doses of COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries now.
The letter published Friday the ambassadors urged G7 leaders to commit to sharing a minimum of 20 per cent of COVID-19 vaccine dose supply urgently, to reduce the risk of the virus spreading further and the threat of mutant strains.
The letter called on world leaders to donate doses and ensure fair and equitable vaccine supply to low- and middle- income countries.
The letter read, “The world has spent a year and a half battling the COVID-19 pandemic, but the virus is still spreading in many countries and producing new variants with the potential to put us all back where we started,” the letter reads.
“This means more school closures, more healthcare disruptions, and greater economic fallout – threatening the futures of families and children everywhere.
The letter warned that COVAX, the global initiative supporting poorer countries in gaining access to vaccines, is already facing a shortfall of 190 million doses, and proposes that, in order to help cover this shortfall, G7 countries donate 20 per cent of their vaccines between June and August – over 150 million doses – as a temporary stopgap measure to compensate for this shortfall.
A recent data analysis provided by Airfinity, a life sciences research facility, and commissioned by the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), indicated that G7 nations could do so without significant delay to current plans to vaccinate domestic adult populations.
“As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador I believe in the crucial benefit of vaccinations,” said David Beckham, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
“The pandemic won’t be over until it’s over everywhere, so it’s vital that all communities around the world have fair access to Covid-19 vaccines urgently.”
According to UNICEF, without urgently ensuring fair and equitable access supply, the world will continue to be at risk of deadly virus mutations – like the devastating second wave of COVID-19 sweeping across India and other South Asian countries including Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
It added, “The crisis at home in India and across the region of South Asia is devastating. This deadly surge of Covid-19 is placing an enormous strain on health facilities across India, with hospital beds, essential medical supplies and oxygen running out.
“It’s also of huge concern to all of us at UNICEF to hear about children falling ill with this new variant – while many are also losing parents and left alone and at risk, unable to access critical health care, vaccinations and education,” said Priyanka Chopra Jonas, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
“The crisis in India shows why we must act now to avoid further deadly mutations ravaging low- and middle- income nations around the world. UNICEF and its COVAX partners are ensuring vaccines and treatments reach the world’s most vulnerable populations, but cannot do it alone.
“A clear solution to this is G7 countries committing to sharing their surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses immediately with the countries whose health workers and vulnerable populations need them the most,” said Priyanka Chopra.
“That’s exactly why I’ve joined my fellow UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors in signing this letter, urgently asking G7 leaders to make this commitment at the UK summit this week, to keep families and children everywhere safe from COVID-19.”