"We need more": UN joins criticism of G7 vaccine pledge
* G7 to pledge 1 billion vaccine doses
* Campaigners say G7 too slow, lacks ambition
* Britain to give 100 million doses
* UK says some countries using vaccines to exert influence
By Kate Holton and Elizabeth Piper
CARBIS BAY, England, June 11 (Reuters) - A Group of Seven plan to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries lacks ambition, is far too slow and shows Western leaders are not yet on top of tackling the worst public health crisis in a century, campaigners said on Friday.
While the head of the United Nations welcomed the move, even he said more was needed. Antonio Guterres warned that if people in developing countries were not inoculated quickly, the virus could mutate further and become resistant to the new vaccines.
"We need more than that," he said of the G7 plan. "We need a global vaccination plan. We need to act with a logic, with a sense of urgency, and with the priorities of a war economy, and we are still far from getting that."
U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had used the G7 summit in England to announce the donation of 500 million and 100 million vaccines respectively for the world's poorest nations.
Canada is expected to commit to sharing up to 100 million doses and other pledges may follow after Johnson urged G7 leaders to help inoculate the world's nearly 8 billion people against the coronavirus by the end of next year.
But health and anti-poverty campaigners said that, while donations were a step in the right direction, Western leaders had failed to grasp that exceptional efforts were needed to beat the virus. Help with distribution was also necessary, they said.
Former British prime minister Gordon Brown, who has been pushing for richer countries to share more of the cost of vaccinating developing countries, said the G7 pledges were more akin to "passing round the begging bowl" than a real solution.
"It's a catastrophic failure if we can't go away in the next week or two ... with a plan that actually rids the world of COVID now we've got a vaccine," he told Reuters.
Alex Harris at Wellcome, a London-based science and health charitable foundation, challenged the G7 to show the political leadership the crisis demanded.
"What the world needs is vaccines now, not later this year," he said. "We urge G7 leaders to raise their ambition."
COVID-19 has ripped through the global economy, with infections reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
The race to end a pandemic that has killed around 3.9 million people and sown social and economic destruction will feature prominently at the three-day summit which began on Friday in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab warned that other countries were using vaccines as diplomatic tools to secure influence. Britain and the United States said their donations would come with no strings attached.
Vaccination efforts so far are heavily correlated with wealth: the United States, Europe, Israel and Bahrain are far ahead of other countries. A total of 2.2 billion people have been vaccinated according to Johns Hopkins University data.
As most people need two vaccine doses, and possibly booster shots to tackle emerging variants, charity Oxfam said the world would need 11 billion doses to end the pandemic.
"If the best G7 leaders can manage is to donate 1 billion vaccine doses then this summit will have been a failure," Oxfam's health policy manager Anna Marriott said.
Oxfam also called on G7 leaders to support a waiver on the intellectual property behind the vaccines.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said intellectual property rights should not hinder access to vaccines during a pandemic, appearing to back Biden on the subject.
But the pharmaceutical industry has opposed it, saying it would stifle innovation and do little to increase supplies. Britain, which backed Oxford-AstraZeneca's AZN.L not-for-profit shot, has said a patent waiver is not necessary.
Of the 100 million British shots, 80 million will go to the COVAX programme led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the rest will be shared bilaterally with countries in need.
Johnson echoed Biden in calling on his fellow leaders to make similar pledges and for pharmaceutical companies to adopt the not-for-profit model during the pandemic. The U.S. donation of Pfizer PFE.N shots will be supplied at cost.
The British doses will be drawn from the stock it has already procured for its domestic programme, and will come from suppliers Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson's JNJ.N Janssen, Moderna and others.
FACTBOX-What are G7 countries pledging on vaccine doses?
GRAPHIC-COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker Link
UK's Raab: Some countries are using vaccines as a geopolitcal
Canada will share up to 100 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccine with nations in need - source
Failed: UK's ex-PM Brown says G7 COVID vaccine plan offers no solution
Biden and Johnson watch on in blimp form as protesters demand G7 action
U.S. says G7 may reallocate $100 bln from IMF funds to COVID-ravaged nations
G7 leaders agreed to keep stimulus flowing for their economies
Additional reporting by Alistair Smout in London, Michelle Nichols in New York and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge, Alex Richardson, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Catherine Evans
Disclaimer: The XM Group entities provide execution-only service and access to our Online Trading Facility, permitting a person to view and/or use the content available on or via the website, is not intended to change or expand on this, nor does it change or expand on this. Such access and use are always subject to: (i) Terms and Conditions; (ii) Risk Warnings; and (iii) Full Disclaimer. Such content is therefore provided as no more than general information. Particularly, please be aware that the contents of our Online Trading Facility are neither a solicitation, nor an offer to enter any transactions on the financial markets. Trading on any financial market involves a significant level of risk to your capital.
All material published on our Online Trading Facility is intended for educational/informational purposes only, and does not contain – nor should it be considered as containing – financial, investment tax or trading advice and recommendations; or a record of our trading prices; or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instruments; or unsolicited financial promotions to you.
Any third-party content, as well as content prepared by XM, such as: opinions, news, research, analyses, prices and other information or links to third-party sites contained on this website are provided on an “as-is” basis, as general market commentary, and do not constitute investment advice. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, it would be considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations. Please ensure that you have read and understood our Notification on Non-Independent Investment. Research and Risk Warning concerning the foregoing information, which can be accessed here.