Celebrities urge world leaders to share vaccine surplus with poorer nations

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A host of celebrities including David Beckham, Olivia Colman and Billie Eilish have written to world leaders calling for surplus coronavirus vaccines to be shared with poorer countries.

In an open letter, published ahead of the G7 summit on Friday, the Unicef ambassadors said the meeting was a “vital opportunity” for action to be taken.

Unicef warned that without ensuring “fair and equitable” supplies of vaccines internationally, the world would continue to be at risk from future mutations of the virus.

“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 – 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.”

David Beckham
David Beckham (Mike Egerton/PA)

Other signatories include actors Liam Neeson, Orlando Bloom, Gemma Chan, and Whoopi Goldberg, singers Katy Perry and P!nk, and UK tennis ace Andy Murray.

The letter also warned that Covax, the global initiative supporting poorer countries in gaining access to vaccines, is facing a shortfall of 190 million doses.

Unicef has proposed that G7 countries should donate 20% of their vaccines between June and August to help address the shortages temporarily.

Olivia Colman
Olivia Colman (Ian West/PA)

“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 executive director, Henrietta Fore, added: “Countries need not choose between fighting the disease at home or fighting it abroad.

“We can, and must, do both simultaneously – and immediately.

“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.

“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.”

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