OTTAWA - A senior adviser to the director general at the World Health Organization says G7 leaders must make ending the COVID-19 pandemic a critical part of their summit in Germany or they risk losing economic growth and unleashing more civil unrest.
Dr. Bruce Aylward says in an interview that if getting control of the pandemic by investing in vaccines and treatments for all countries isn't important to the G7, it won't be important to anyone.
The leaders of the world's leading economies are midway through their annual summit where the Russian invasion in Ukraine and food insecurity are the main focus.
But Aylward says the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be forgotten.
He says G7 nations already played a leadership role helping get vaccines to lower-income countries but they also hindered progress by hoarding doses until their own populations were inoculated while exporting conspiracy theories that contributed to vaccine hesitancy elsewhere.
That has made convincing people who have had to wait to access doses a steeper mountain to climb and will mean the pandemic and new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 will continue to erupt with potentially dire consequences.