Health ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) are meeting on Thursday at Oxford University, birthplace of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, to discuss a new international approach to preventing future global pandemic and emerging health threats, and bolster international cooperation to eliminate potential dangers posed by animals and the environment, the UK government announced.
“Globally we are only as strong as the weakest link in the health security chain. No one is safe until everyone is safe. We need to make better use of advances in our ability to collect, analyse, and share health data from all aspects of life, enabling faster collaboration to respond to health security threats and stop diseases in their tracks,” UK health minister Matt Hancock said ahead of the two-day meeting.
According the UK government, which currently occupies the rotatory presidency of the G7, the new international approach to preventing pandemic will expand the scope on the so-called Global Pandemic Radar recently launched by UK prime minister Boris Johnson to identify emerging COVID-19 variants and track new disease around the world.
Health ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States are also expected to discuss sharing COVID-19 vaccines with poorer countries amid warning from scientists and non-governmental organizations that at least 90 percent of people in 67 low-income countries stand little chance of getting vaccinated against the disease in 2021 because rich nations have bought more jabs than they need.