The President of the United States, Joe Biden, announced this Wednesday that his country will double its donation of vaccines against COVID-19 during a virtual summit on the pandemic, with which the White House seeks to accelerate the pace of vaccination in the world.
The West has more COVID vaccines than it needs and there is no excuse not to share them
Speaking at the virtual meeting, organized by the White House on the occasion of the week of debates of the UN General Assembly, Biden has confirmed his negotiations with Pfizer to acquire 500 million doses: “The United States is buying another 500 million of doses of Pfizer to donate to low- and middle-income countries around the world … to be distributed by next year around this time. ”
Those 500 million doses are in addition to another 500 million vaccines from the same pharmaceutical company that Biden had promised in June it would deliver to about 100 countries in the next two years. In this way, Washington has managed the purchase of 1,100 million doses of different brands to donate to other countries.
“For every vaccine that we have put in the United States so far, we have promised to deliver three to the rest of the world,” said Biden, who has insisted that his country will become “the arsenal of vaccines”, as it was “the Arsenal of Democracy during World War II “.
Vaccines for everyone
One of the objectives of the meeting called by the United States is to accelerate global vaccination, according to the goals established by the World Health Organization.
The WHO predicts that at least 40% of the world’s population will be vaccinated by the end of this year and that this percentage will reach 70% by the UN General Assembly in 2022.
“We need other high-income countries to deliver on their own donations and ambitious vaccine promises,” Biden claimed, unveiling an alliance with the European Union (EU) to “work more closely” in delivering vaccines. to developing countries.
The US leader has also asked that the doses be donated, not sold, to lower-income countries, and that these deliveries “do not have political conditions attached.”
In this context, it has announced that the United States will invest 370 million dollars (315 million euros) more to help deliver and administer those doses worldwide; and that it will allocate more than 380 million dollars (324 million euros) to the global alliance of Gavi vaccines to facilitate that they reach the areas with the greatest need.
Another objective of the White House strategy, dubbed “saving lives”, seeks to address the crisis in the supply of oxygen for the care of patients infected with the coronavirus, increase the amount of available screening tests, as well as personal protective equipment.
It also aims to enhance global genomic sequencing and data sharing efforts to facilitate the detection and mitigation of new COVID-19 variants.
For her part, the US Vice President, Kamala Harris, has focused her participation in the meeting on the work of preparing for the next pandemic, which she has considered a “strategic imperative.”
The vice president has proposed the creation of a global health fund backed by the World Bank of 10 billion dollars (8,500 million euros), to which she has assured that her country will contribute at least 250 million dollars (213 million euros).
Harris stressed that this new funding mechanism is needed, warning that “there are not enough funds” to prepare for future biological threats.
“We have learned the cost of not preparing. With each death, we have learned too much about the severity of this cost. And now is the time to act ”, declared Harris, whose country has been the hardest hit by the pandemic, with more than 670,000 lives lost and 42.4 million infected people.
The virtual summit was attended, among others, by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres; the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen; the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. In addition, there were the prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, and the presidents of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, and of Indonesia, Joko Widodo.
According to the count of the Johns Hopkins University of the United States, the pandemic has caused more than 4.7 million deaths and 229.7 million infections worldwide. To date, 5,983 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide.