Covid-19: Billie Eilish, Priyanka Chopra, Katy Perry and other stars warn rich countries about vaccine wastage
Celebrities join Unicef to urge G7 leaders to start sharing vaccines with poorer nations
Celebrities are joining the United Nations children fund to warn leaders of rich countries about Covid vaccine wastage.
Stars including Billie Eilish, David Beckham, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Katy Perry have signed a letter by Unicef urging the group of G7 countries to donate 20 per cent of their vaccines to poorer countries by August.
The next G7 summit, the first since the start of the pandemic, will be in the seaside resort of Carbis Bay in Cornwall, UK, from Friday to Sunday.
Millions of Covid vaccines could be wasted if the countries – the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – send large amounts of leftover vaccines at one time, the letter says.
There needs to be a steady supply throughout the year because poor countries do not have the resources to use them all at once, Unicef says.
The warning comes after countries such as the UK promised to donate their surplus doses.
Britain secured more than 500 million doses of seven vaccines for a population of 66 million. Unicef explains the UK would have enough excess supply to inoculate 50 million people globally with two doses – a total of 100 million doses – even after every adult in the UK was vaccinated and a third booster dose given to high-risk groups.
“We can’t ignore that the UK and other G7 countries have purchased more than a third of the world’s vaccine supply, despite making up only 13 per cent of the global population, and we risk leaving low-income countries behind,” Joanna Rea, director of advocacy at Unicef UK, said last month.
“Unless the UK urgently starts sharing its available doses to ensure others around the world are protected from the virus, the UK will not be safe from Covid-19.”
Other celebrities who have signed the letter include Andy Murray, Olivia Colman, Ewan McGregor, Liam Payne, Orlando Bloom, Gemma Chan, Whoopi Goldberg and Claudia Schiffer.
"The pandemic will not be over anywhere until it is over everywhere," says Beckham.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week he will use the next G7 summit to urge the world’s largest economies to pledge to vaccinate the global population by the end of 2022.
“Vaccinating the world by the end of next year would be the single greatest feat in medical history," he said.
Updated: June 8, 2021 01:40 PM