Biden to announce USD 4 billion commitment to COVID vaccine sharing campaign

Washington:  US President Joe Biden will on Friday announce a massive USD 4 billion commitment to the global COVID-19 vaccine alliance with the goal of inoculating vulnerable populations and reach those without other options, the White House said.

A formal announcement in this regard would be made by Biden during his address to the virtual meeting of G-7 leaders.

He will also call on G7 partners to prioritise a sustainable health security financing mechanism aimed at catalysing countries to build the needed capacity to end the pandemic and prevent the next one, the White House said.

Using money appropriated by a bipartisan Congressional vote in December 2020, the US will provide an initial USD 2 billion contribution to Gavi, the vaccine alliance for COVAX Advance Market Commitment–the innovative financing instrument of COVAX Facility which supports access to safe and effective vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income economies.

The Biden administration will also take a leadership role in galvanising further global contributions to COVAX by releasing an additional USD 2 billion through 2021 and 2022, of which the first USD 500 million will be made available when existing donor pledges are fulfilled and initial doses are delivered to AMC countries. In close cooperation with Gavi, this additional USD 2 billion in funding will serve to expand COVAX’s reach.

We also call on our G7 and other partners to work alongside Gavi, to bring in billions more in resources to support global COVID-19 vaccination, and to target urgent vaccine manufacturing, supply and delivery needs, the White House said.

Finally, President Biden will reaffirm the US commitment to global health security and advancing the Global Health Security Agenda. All countries should have the capability to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks, it said.

The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea highlight the need for sustainable health security financing to catalyze country capacity to prevent biological catastrophes, it said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that this virtual engagement with leaders of the world’s leading democratic market economies will provide an opportunity for President Biden to discuss plans to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild the global economy.

President Biden will focus on a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including coordination on vaccine production, distribution, and supplies, as well as continued efforts to mobilize and cooperate against the threat of emerging infectious diseases by building country capacity and establishing health security financing, she said.

In January, President Biden had announced that the United States would reengage with the World Health Organization to strengthen global health.

His first national security memorandum was focused on COVID-19 and the relationship between a safe and secure United States; defeating COVID-19; improving global health; and advancing domestic and global health security to prevent, detect, and respond to future biological catastrophes, she said.

The administration has pledged the United States will join the COVAX initiative to purchase and distribute vaccines globally and through a multilateral mechanism. These global efforts reinforce the President’s progress to address the COVID pandemic at home, including increasing the pace of vaccinations, instituting public health measures for safe travel, and providing schools with scientific guidance for safe operations, Psaki said.

Biden will also discuss the global economic recovery, including the importance of all industrialized countries maintaining economic support for the recovery and collective measures to build back better, the official added.

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