Priyanka Chopra Jonas, David Beckham, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Whoopi Goldberg, Angélique Kidjo, and Liam Neeson join 28 high-profile UNICEF supporters in urging G7 countries to donate Covid-19 vaccine doses to poor countries now or risk ‘putting us back where we all started’
LONDON, 8 June 2021 – David Beckham, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Olivia Colman, Liam Neeson, Billie Eilish and David Harewood have joined an extraordinary call by 28 UNICEF Ambassadors and High Profile Supporters demanding that G7 leaders commit to donating doses of Covid-19 vaccines to poorer countries now.
The open letter, published today (Tuesday 8 June) ahead of this week’s three-day G7 Leaders’ Summit (Friday 11-Sunday 13 June) in Cornwall, UK, urges G7 leaders to commit to sharing a minimum of 20 per cent of Covid-19 vaccine dose supply urgently, to reduce the risk of Coronavirus spreading further and the threat of mutant strains.
Ramla Ali, Fernando Alonso, David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, José Manuel Calderón, Sofia Carson, Gemma Chan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Olivia Colman, Billie Eilish, Pau Gasol, Whoopi Goldberg, David Harewood, Sir Chris Hoy, Angelique Kidjo, Téa Leoni, Lucy Liu, Juan Manuel López Iturriaga, Ewan McGregor, Alyssa Milano, Andy Murray, Liam Neeson, Liam Payne, Katy Perry, Sergio Ramos, Claudia Schiffer, Teresa Viejo and P!nk are all joining UNICEF in calling on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other G7 world leaders to donate doses and ensure fair and equitable vaccine supply to low- and middle- income countries.
“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 – threating the futures of families and children everywhere.”
The letter goes on to warn 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.
Recent data analysis from the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) and Airfinity, the life sciences research facility, indicates that G7 nations could do so without significant delay to current plans to vaccinate domestic adult populations, with the UK still on track to vaccinate every single adult by end of July even if it donated 20% of available doses.*.
“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.”
UNICEF is also warning that 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.
“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 reaches 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. 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,” Priyanka concluded.
David Harewood, UNICEF UK Ambassador, added: “In the UK, we’re lucky to have our own vaccine drive going from strength to strength, thanks to the dedication of our amazing NHS. But not every country is so fortunate. “UNICEF is working hard to get vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable, but we can’t do it alone. No one is safe until we’re all safe – and only by the UK Government showing leadership by donating doses to COVAX now can we truly end this pandemic once and for all.”
Last week, the USA committed to donating 80 million doses in total (including 60 million doses through COVAX) by the end of June, while Japan, France, Germany and Italy have committed to sharing 30 million – however, these are as yet without a timeframe. The UK has signalled a commitment to dose sharing, but there has been not been a clear and confirmed roadmap of number of doses or timings set out.
The letter concludes that “this weekend’s G7 Summit is a vital opportunity for you to agree the actions that will get vaccines where they are most needed, fast…” and urges the UK Prime Minister and other G7 leaders to set out a roadmap to scale-up donations as supplies increase, noting that forecasts suggest as many as one billion doses may be available for donation by year end.
“Countries need not choose between fighting the disease at home or fighting it abroad. We can, and must, do both simultaneously – and immediately,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “This is a pivotal time in the fight against COVID-19, as leaders meet to set priorities for what form this fight will take in the coming weeks and months. I am pleased so many UNICEF supporters are joining our call for emergency support for COVAX, so we can continue to wage this fight globally. After all, the disease is not respecting boundaries on a map. Our fight to get ahead of the virus, and its variants, should not either.”
To read the letter in full, visit unicef.org.uk/donate-doses-now.
Notes to editors:
Watch a multimedia version of the letter, voiced by Liam Neeson, as well as access other multimedia content here.
Full text of letter:
Dear G7 Leaders,
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. This means more school closures, more healthcare disruptions and greater economic fallout – threatening the futures of families and children everywhere.
The pandemic will not be over anywhere until it is over everywhere, and that means getting vaccines to every country, as quickly and equitably as possible. This weekend’s G7 Summit is a vital opportunity for you to agree the actions that will get vaccines where they are most needed, fast.
UNICEF is already on the ground delivering vaccines on behalf of COVAX, the international vaccine equity initiative. But right now, COVAX is 190 million doses short of where it needs to be, which leaves vulnerable people dangerously unprotected. Some countries have committed to donating vaccines later this year, but doses are needed now.
UNICEF analysis shows that G7 countries will soon have enough doses to donate 20% of their vaccines between June and August – over 150 million doses – without significant delay to current plans to vaccinate their adult populations. We’re asking you to make these urgent donations by August and to set out a roadmap to scale-up donations as supplies increase.
Forecasts suggest as many as 1 billion doses may be available for donation by year end. The hopes of the world rest on your shoulders. Together, you must rise to this challenge. Let’s build a healthier, brighter and fairer future for every child and for everyone:
GIVE 20% OF AVAILABLE VACCINES BY AUGUST. PROTECT US ALL. DONATE DOSES NOW.
Full list of signatories:
|Juan Manuel||López Iturriaga|
*About the Airfinity analysis
The Airfinity analysis is produced using data forecasts of vaccine supplies allocated to G7 members based on doses set to be readily available. The supply forecasts are based on existing deals between countries and manufacturers of approved vaccine candidates unless specified as included vaccine candidates currently undergoing Phase III trials. The aggregate figure of 153 million doses represents the total of available doses if all G7 members donate 20 per cent of their available supply in June, July and August 2021, minus Novovax (due to anticipated supply limitations affecting Novovax).
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work for children. We also promote and protect children’s rights in the UK and internationally. We are a UK charity, entirely funded by supporters.
United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), Registered Charity No. 1072612 (England & Wales), SC043677 (Scotland).
For more information, please contact: