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Johnson's G7 vaccine vow slammed as ‘hypocrisy’

PM criticised as he calls for action to increase Covid jabs, while blocking action to waive vaccine patents

BORIS JOHNSON was called out for hypocrisy today over his pledge to vaccinate the world — having blocked plans to waive patents on jabs in favour of “corporate greed.” 

Ahead of the G7 Summit, the PM said nations must set aside the “beggar my neighbour” attitude that led to squabbling over protective wear, medicines and treatment for Covid-19. 

This evening, Mr Johnson pledged to donate 100 million surplus doses overseas after calling for the seven world leaders to commit to global vaccination by the end of 2022. 

But social justice campaigners said the PM’s calls to vaccinate the world “beggars belief” given he is one of the “biggest obstacles” to proposals to override patents on Covid-19 jabs, which would allow countries to begin producing vaccines themselves. 

Britain voted against a motion proposed by India and South Africa, at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), backed by 100 nations, to waive patents on Covid-19 jabs. 

Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden said factories across the world are lying idle because of Mr Johnson’s decision to “put corporate profits ahead of saving lives.” 

While the PM plans to donate surplus doses of the vaccine within the next few weeks, Mr Dearden said this was “too little, too late.” 

“It’s time for Johnson to get out of the way and, as a minimum, stop actively preventing the scale-up of vaccine production around the world,” he said.

“To continue to back Big Pharma’s profits at this time is obscene.”

The pledge to donate surplus jabs comes after Britain bought 400 million doses — enough to fully vaccinate the population three times over — leaving international rollout bodies with nothing to purchase. 

Campaigners also criticised the PM for making the bold pledge after his government slashed foreign aid spending, citing Covid-19 economic pressures. 

Covid Zero campaign secretary Roy Wilkes said: “Johnson’s rhetoric at the G7 is not only hypocritical, it is a wholly inadequate response to a global crisis of this magnitude. 

“A charitable donation of a few million doses won’t scratch the surface of vaccinating the world’s seven billion inhabitants.”

At the G7 summit, which runs until Sunday, the leaders of Britain, the US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy will pledge at least a billion coronavirus vaccine doses to the world through dose sharing and financing.

They will also set out a plan to expand vaccine manufacturing in order to achieve that goal.

But human rights groups warned that pledges to vaccinate the world by 2022 are “impossible” if nations such as Britain continue to block plans to waive patents and share life-saving tech. 

Amnesty International UK said that if current trends continue it will take the world’s poorest countries until 2078 to vaccinate their populations, while G7 countries are on track to offer all their citizens jabs by the end of January 2022. 

The human rights group’s head of economic and social justice Steve Cockburn said: “The English county of Cornwall, where the G7 Summit takes place, has administered more vaccinations than 22 African countries combined.

“This is just one example of how the failure to fight pharma monopolies has created staggering inequalities in vaccine access. This unconscionable failure of global leadership must be rectified immediately.”

The PM was also criticised for flying to Cornwall for the summit this weekend, where world leaders will discuss how to tackle the climate emergency. 

Three days of protests are set to kick off on Friday against the summit, with thousands of officers descending on the coastal area. 

Protest organisers have vowed to boycott police-designated areas for demonstrations, which are located miles from where the summit is being held. 

Demos are also being held in London on Saturday to oppose the G7 governments’ complicity in Israel’s war crimes, organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign. 

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