The Group of Seven plans to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries. However, campaigners said it was just a drop in the ocean and shows Western leaders are not yet up to the task of tackling the worst public health crisis in a century.
After US President Joe Biden vowed to supercharge the battle against the virus with a donation of 500 million Pfizer shots, Prime Minister Johnson said Britain would give at least 100 million vaccines within the next year. Other pledges are expected to follow.
"The new US and UK commitments are a step in the right direction, but they don't go far enough, fast enough," said Alex Harris, director of government relations at Wellcome, a London-based science and health charitable foundation.
"What the world needs is vaccines now, not later this year. At this historic moment, the G7 must show the political leadership our crisis demands," said Harris. "We urge G7 leaders to raise their ambition."
Britain and the United States have, however, said their donations would come with no strings attached. British foreign minister Dominic Raab has warned that other countries were using vaccines as diplomatic tools to secure influence.
"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, adding that the world would need 11 billion doses to end the pandemic.
The race to bring an end to a pandemic that has killed around 3.9 million people globally 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.