G-20 host Italy: We must vaccinate 70% of world by mid-2022

Only around 3 per cent of people in the poorest parts of the world have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (AFP, BLOOMBERG) - Group of 20 (G-20) countries should ensure that 70 per cent of the global population is vaccinated against Covid-19 by mid-2022, the Italian G-20 presidency said on Saturday (Oct 30).

"We are very close to meeting the WHO's target of vaccinating 40 per cent of the global population by the end of 2021. Now, we must do all we can to reach 70 per cent by mid-2022," Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said, referring to the World Health Organisation.

His remarks opened a two-day summit in Rome of world leaders who are expected to discuss efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, as well as climate change and threats to the global economic recovery.

Mr Draghi noted that while more than 70 per cent of people in developed countries have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the percentage drops to around 3 per cent in the poorest parts of the world.

"These differences are morally unacceptable, and undermine the global recovery," Mr Draghi said.

G-20 finance and health ministers assembled on Friday also cited the 70 per cent objective by the middle of next year.

To meet the target, they committed to "take steps to help boost the supply of vaccines and essential medical products and inputs in developing countries and remove relevant supply and financing constraints".

Mr Draghi also told fellow G-20 leaders that "multilateralism is the best answer to the problems we face", as he kicked off the summit.

"From the pandemic, to climate change, to fair and equitable taxation, going it alone is simply not an option," Mr Draghi said.

Negotiators at the summit are racing the clock to reach a climate deal that can be taken on to the crucial United Nations COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Officials have failed so far to agree on a draft statement they can put to the heads of state, with stark differences over timelines to reach specific climate goals and whether countries can wean themselves off coal entirely. The hope is for COP26 to advance pledges made in the Paris climate accord.

Complicating matters, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have opted to dial in from afar. US President Joe Biden has struggled to get consensus at home on how strongly America will commit to climate action.

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