Layla Moran has urged G7 health ministers to donate vaccines to close the coronavirus vaccine gap, support intellectual property and technology sharing and protect health aid spending as they begin two days of talks in the city from Thursday 3 June.
In a letter to the health ministers of each G7 nation, including Matt Hancock, Layla said that the Oxford health meetings “could mark a turning point in the global fight against coronavirus”, urging them to “seize this opportunity” and take steps to help vaccinate people in developing nations.
Calling for the G7 to begin contributing vaccine doses, not just funds, via COVAX, Moran, who chairs the APPG on Coronavirus, warned that “the threat of variants emerging that can evade the protection of our current vaccines is very real and could undo the hard work done in the G7 nations and other wealthier countries if left unchecked.”
In her letter, Layla also calls for aid spending on health to be protected, rather than cut, by G7 members. The UK Government has cut spending on projects aimed at improving health resilience in developing countries and research. Layla has also called on the G7 nations to commit to holding domestic inquiries into their handling of the pandemic, “with the aim of sharing important lessons” internationally.
Layla Moran said: “It’s fantastic that Oxford has been chosen to host the G7 health ministers this week. Our city and county are a hub of innovation and expertise, and I’m glad our life sciences sector will get the opportunity to speak to the delegations. I’ve written to every G7 health minister because these meetings are a crucial opportunity to make real progress and tackle vaccine inequity around the world.
“Unless we close the vaccination gap, no nation will be truly safe from coronavirus. The threat of new variants will remain a significant risk. That’s why every G7 nation should commit to beginning a parallel rollout by donating doses to COVAX. It’s time for intellectual property and technology sharing to receive the backing of these countries too - we need to take bold steps to fight coronavirus.
“Aid spending also needs protecting right now, especially when it comes to health programmes in lower-income nations. Without that, other efforts will be far less effective. And just like the UK has committed to do, I hope all G7 members will hold inquiries into their own handling of the pandemic, and share the important lessons they learn on the international stage. By making these commitments and aiming for these goals, the G7 can set the agenda and begin the work of ending the pandemic worldwide.”