Foreign ministers from the G7 group of industrialised nations have committed to working with industry to expand the production of affordable coronavirus vaccines.
But the ministers stopped short of putting their support behind a campaign, led by India and South Africa, which calls for intellectual property rights on Covid vaccines to be waived so that production can be ramped up globally.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and his counterparts from the US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and the EU met for a two-day summit hosted in London, where the pandemic was on the agenda.
In a lengthy communique issued after the meeting, the foreign ministers said they supported “affordable and equitable” global access to jabs, therapeutics and diagnostics.
It also said they would further increase efforts to support access for people in need, while working with the industry on “licensing, technology and know-how transfers”.
But Oxfam said that G7 countries had “failed to take back control” of vaccines from pharmaceutical companies and urged them to put their support behind the waiver of intellectual property protections on the jabs.
Oxfam’s health policy manager Anna Marriott said: “The G7 has failed to take back control of Covid vaccines from the pharmaceutical corporations that continue to decide who lives and who dies.
“Relying on them to voluntarily share their vaccine recipes has so far denied access to these life-saving tools for billions of people.
“Instead the G7 should urgently put their support behind the waiver of intellectual property protections on Covid-19 vaccines that over 100 countries, led by India and South Africa have been demanding for six months, and since which over two million people have lost their lives to coronavirus.
“As thousands of people die daily in India, the continued failure of the G7 to break with the pharma-controlled monopolies is inexcusable.”