Britain will donate 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca to developing countries as part of efforts to share the drug with nations that lack it, Prime Minister Boris Johnson explained on Saturday.
Johnson made the announcement upon arrival in Rome to participate in the Group of 20 summit, which begins Saturday.
Britain explained that it sent 10 million doses through the COVAX program, which is supported by the United Nations, and that another 10 million will be sent in the coming weeks.
This is in addition to the 10 million that have already been distributed, and are part of the British commitment to share 100 million doses with the countries most in need by mid-2022.
Johnson urged the group of the world’s most industrialized nations to push vaccination around the world by the end of 2022, noting that our first priority as the G20 must be to move forward with the rapid, equitable and global distribution of vaccines.
Britain and other wealthy countries have been accused of hoarding more vaccines than they need while others, especially in Africa, have very few or none. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, health envoy for the World Health Organization, has urged the G20 to speed up delivery and to fly unused doses to the developing world
The British leader also hopes the G20 will focus on climate commitments as it prepares to host the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, starting Sunday.