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G-20 leaders pledge vaccines for all

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Our Reporter

LEADERS of the world’s most powerful nations have wrapped up the Group of 20 summit, vowing to spare no effort to protect lives and ensure affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all people.

Their two-day summit was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed at least 1.38 million people globally, with the world’s highest death tolls recorded in seven of the G-20 countries.

Also, the virus has wiped out hundreds of millions of jobs globally and plunged millions into extreme poverty.

The virus “revealed vulnerabilities in our preparedness and response and underscored our common challenges,” the G-20 said in a final statement that focused heavily on battling the coronavirus, enhancing environmental protections and supporting the global economy.

The group vowed “to spare no effort to protect lives.”

The G-20, which includes the U.S., India, China, the U.K., France, Germany, Japan and others, also stressed the importance of global access to COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests.

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“We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people, consistent with members’ commitments to incentivize innovation,” the statement said.

The G-20 expressed support for efforts like COVAX, an international initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide. The U.S., however, has declined to join under President Donald Trump.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin after the virtual summit that Germany had given financial support to the COVAX initiative, but that more money was needed.

The G-20 statement did not directly address an urgent appeal by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said $28 billion in additional investment is needed for mass manufacturing, procurement and delivery of new COVID-19 vaccines around the world, including $4 billion immediately.

There is also concern that countries such as Britain, the U.S., France and Germany have directly negotiated deals with pharmaceutical companies, meaning that the vast majority of the world’s vaccine supply next year is already reserved.

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