1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses only a start: IMF MD Kristalina Georgieva at G7 summit

The International Monetary Fund managing director says there's a moral imperative for the world's richest countries to back programmes to end the COVID-19 pandemic but the donation of excess vaccines is only the first step.

Kristalina Georgieva's comments in a virtual press conference at the Group of Seven summit Sunday came after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped G-7 leaders would agree to provide at least 1 billion vaccine doses for poorer countries.

Humanitarian groups have welcomed the donations, but are calling for money, increased production and logistical support to help developing countries where the virus is still raging.

Georgieva said the donations are a good step but more needs to be done to overcome the hurdles needed to deliver shots into arms.

"This is a moral imperative, but it is a necessity for the economic recovery to stick, because we can't have the world split into two tracks without negative consequences,'' Georgieva said.

While almost half of the combined population of the G-7 nations has received at least one dose of vaccine, the worldwide figure is less than 13%. In Africa, it's just 2.2%.

"The war is not yet won,'' she said. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the summit's host, has said the group would pledge at least 1 billion doses, with half that number coming from the United States and 100 million from Britain over the next year.

Tedros reiterated his target of vaccinating 30% of the population of every country by the end of 2021. He said that reaching the goal requires 100 million doses in June and July, and 250 million more by September.

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