Biden and G7 leaders to commit to donating 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines

U.S. President Joe Biden shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron at the 2021 G7 summit in Britain. Credit: CBS News.

President Biden is joining other world democratic leaders on the first day of the Group of 7 summit in Britain, hoping to restore U.S. relations with the world’s democracies and urging them to unite to confront COVID-19 and other global challenges.

Leaders of the G7 and guest countries will provide more than 1 billion additional COVID-19 vaccine doses for the world, 500 million of which will come from the United States, the White House said Friday. The U.S. will lead the G7 and other countries in a global COVID-19 vaccination campaign. On Thursday, Mr. Biden announced the $3.5 billion U.S. donation of Pfizer doses.

The message from the president is that the world’s biggest democracies are working together, and democracy is still the most effective form of government.

(L-R) Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President of the European Council Charles Michel, US President Joe Biden, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italy’s Prime minister Mario Draghi, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel pose for the family photo at the start of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall on June 11, 2021.

The first day of the G7 summit comes after what Mr. Biden described as a “very productive” meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday. “Everybody’s absolutely thrilled to see you,” Johnson said when he met with Mr. Biden Thursday, and he referred to the president as a “breath of fresh air.”

Some are already looking beyond the summit to the president’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin next Wednesday. Ahead of the first G7 session, a reporter asked the president what his message to Putin will be when Mr. Biden meets with him.

“I’ll tell you after I deliver it,” the president responded. First Lady Jill Biden said Thursday that her husband is “over-prepared,” after she was asked if he was ready for the meeting.

Over the weekend, G7 leaders will be spending much of their time discussing how their nations can contribute to the global economic recovery, since many countries are still financially wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The leaders will also discuss climate change, education and how it is democracies, not autocracies, that set the best standards. The Group of Seven leaders are also expected to make an announcement on their commitment to ending the pandemic and donating vaccines to less wealthy nations.

In 2018 when the G7 leaders gathered, President Trump did not sign onto the communique, and attacked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “weak.”

On Friday night, members of the G7 and their spouses will join Queen Elizabeth II for dinner. Most of the meetings will take place Saturday.

On Friday morning, first lady Jill Biden and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, visited a school in Cornwall and met bunnies cared for by children at the school. The first lady also took part in a roundtable with Middleton and childhood development experts on the importance of parental involvement and education in children’s early years.

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