Faith leaders have written an open letter to Boris Johnson and G7 leaders ahead of their summit this week calling for vaccine patents to be waived and an increase in funding to ensure vaccines reach the poorest countries and prevent the spread of further variants spread.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Thabo Makgoba, the Anglican Archbishop of Capetown and the Dalai Lama are among the signatories of the letter which calls for additional funding and for bold steps to increase production.
They say that waiving intellectual property rules is a proposal “is gaining the support of a growing number of G7 countries.”
They say this offer countries the opportunity to diversify the sites of production, as well as boost production.
“This will reduce the period of time before herd immunity is achieved, a period during which potentially dangerous variants can emerge.”
They write: “Low-income countries account for less than 1% of the 900 million doses administered to date. More affluent countries account for more than 83%. The vaccine gap between the richer and poorer parts of the world is growing by the day.”
“While many G7 countries have been generous in their contribution to ACT-A, it is a matter of grave concern to us that the financing gap for ACT-A is $19bn this year.
They say that action is needed to lower costs through intellectual property waivers and the sharing of skills and resources with generic producers.
“The G7 has a special responsibility in both of these areas. As a group of the world’s largest economies, your financial commitments will make or break ACT-A’s ambition. We therefore urge you to agree to the burden- sharing formula proposed by Norway and South Africa and sent to 89 countries, under which the G7 would collectively agree to underwrite 63 per cent of the cost of closing the financing gap.”