UK’s Johnson: Vaccines worldwide takes a ‘colossal mission’

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FILE – In this Monday, Jan. 25, 2021 file photo, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a vial of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, during a visit to Barnet FC’s ground at the Hive, which is being used as a coronavirus vaccination centre, in London. Johnson plans to appeal to leaders of the world’s richest nations to unite in a “colossal mission’’ to get COVID-19 vaccines to every country and to lead a sustainable recovery from the pandemic. That’s according to remarks his office released in advance of a virtual meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool Photo via AP, File)

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to appeal to leaders of the world’s richest nations to unite in a “colossal mission’’ to get COVID-19 vaccines to every country and to lead a sustainable recovery from the pandemic, according to remarks released Saturday.

Johnson is set to chair a virtual meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Friday. It will be the first session led by Johnson since the U.K. took over the G-7’s presidency in January.

“The solutions to the challenges we face – from the colossal mission to get vaccines to every single country, to the fight to reverse the damage done to our ecosystems and lead a sustainable recovery from coronavirus – lie in the discussions we have with our friends and partners around the world,’’ Johnson said in the remarks released before the event.

Rich countries have been criticized for buying up more COVID-19 vaccines than they need, leaving developing nations without access to the lifesaving shots. Public health experts warn that the coronavirus pandemic won’t be brought under control until people everywhere are vaccinated.

Governments around the world must cooperate to put vaccine supplies to the best possible use, Johnson said.

“I hope 2021 will be remembered as the year humanity worked together like never before to defeat a common foe,” he said.

The session on Friday marks U.S. President Joe Biden’s first major multilateral engagement since he took office last month. The U.K. is scheduled to host a G-7 summit in Cornwall, England in June.

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