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PM Johnson defends vaccine pledge as G7 leaders gather in Cornwall

Boris Johnson has defended his approach to tackling the global coronavirus pandemic as the UK offered at least 100 million surplus vaccine doses to some of the world’s poorest countries.

The Prime Minister made the pledge as leaders of some of the richest democracies on the planet gathered in Cornwall.

The group of seven leading industrialised nations are expected to collectively agree to provide a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine in an effort to end the pandemic in 2022.

The leaders – including US President Joe Biden – will spend the day discussing issues including the pandemic before a lavish reception at the Eden Project attended by the Queen.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also take part in their first G7 events, another milestone in their progression as senior royals.

William and Kate will join the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at the G7 leaders reception on Friday evening.

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The summit, being held in Carbis Bay, begins with leaders of wealthy nations under pressure to do more to share the burden of protecting the world from the virus.

Mr Biden has already promised to donate half a billion Pfizer vaccines for 92 low and lower-middle income countries and the African Union.

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Under the Prime Minister’s plan, the UK will provide five million doses by the end of September, with 25 million more by the end of 2021.

But he resisted calls from campaigners to take further action, including waiving patents on vaccines, insisting that the deal to supply Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs at cost price and the UK’s funding for the Covax initiative to provide doses around the world showed Britain was doing its share.

The Prime Minister told the BBC: “I think that the people of this country should be very proud that of the 1.5 billion doses that are being distributed around the world to the poorest and neediest in the world under the Covax programme, one in three come from the Oxford/AstraZeneca deal that the UK did, allowing those vaccines to be distributed at cost.

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