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.”