CHARITY begins at home but it doesn’t end there.

Boris Johnson told his fellow G7 leaders there was “no point” in vaccinating national populations if efforts were not made to ensure the “whole word” got vaccines.

“We’ve got to make sure the whole world is vaccinated because this is a global pandemic and it’s no use one country being far ahead of another, we’ve got to move together,” he declared.

The virtual summit’s joint statement spoke of making 2021 a “turning point for multilateralism” with greater co-operation on the creation and deployment of vaccines across the globe as well as support for “affordable and equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, reflecting the role of extensive immunisation as a global public good”.

Indeed, the G7 leaders put money where their collective mouth was and increased the funding to Covax, the UN-led authority on providing vaccines to poorer countries, by more than doubling it to $7.5 billion.

Earlier, the Prime Minister pledged that most of the UK’s surplus vaccines would go to poorer countries to help them vaccinate their people.

But James Cleverley, the Foreign Office Minister, said it was “difficult to say with any kind of certainty” when Britain would start to hand out excess jabs, with the country’s own vaccine rollout programme still in full flow.

Commenting on the French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for the EU and US to urgently donate up to 5% of their vaccines to poorer nations, Mr Cleverly noted that, when the time came, the UK would be "looking at a figure significantly greater than that".

The UK has ordered more than 400 million doses of various vaccines, which will mean many will be left over once all the country’s adults are inoculated against coronavirus, probably by September.

The Government has made clear that it would hand over the surplus supplies to Covax, having already given £548m to it.

But even if the Covax plan works, it's only designed to cover 20% of each nation's population, which is well short of the so-called “herd immunity” expected to be achieved in the richer nations.

At present, worryingly, an estimated 130 countries have not yet begun any vaccinations whatsoever.

New figures from the anti-poverty pressure group, the One Campaign, suggest Australia, Canada, the EU, Japan, the UK, and the US have together secured more than 3 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines; that is said to be 1.2bn more than they need to give their entire populations two doses.

"The virus won't wait on us to be ready before it mutates, so we need to get these vaccines around the world as quickly as possible," said Romilly Greenhill, its UK Director.

While Britain can take comfort in the speed and scale of its national roll-out, it may count for little or nothing if poorer countries have to wait months or even years before they can get vaccines to protect their citizens from the ravages of Covid-19.

By which time, the coronavirus may well have mutated into a variant that evades our defences and reinfects us all over again. It really is the case that we are all in, and hopefully out, of this together.