Biden to double US global donation of COVID-19 vaccine shots

United States President Joe Biden is ready to announce that the United States is doubling its purchase of COVID-19 injections from Pfizer to share with the world one billion doses while embracing the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population next year.

An enhanced US commitment will be a cornerstone of the global vaccination summit that Biden will hold on Wednesday around the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, as he plans to pressure rich nations to do more to get the coronavirus under control.

World leaders, aid groups, and global health organizations are increasingly talking about the slow pace of global vaccination and the inequality of access to vaccines among the populations of richer and poorer countries.

The US purchase, according to two senior Biden administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview Biden’s comments, would bring the total US vaccination commitment to more than 1.1 billion doses through 2022. At least 160 million injections have been made available by the US . Spread over more than 100 countries, which represents more donations than the rest of the world combined.

The latest purchase reflects a fraction of what will be needed to meet the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population, and 70 percent of every country’s citizens, at the United Nations meeting next September. It is a goal led by the global aid groups that Biden will support.

The White House said Biden would use the summit to pressure other countries to “commit to a higher level of ambition” in their vaccine-sharing plans, including the specific challenges they have to meet. Officials said the White House would announce targets for wealthy nations and nonprofits once the summit concluded.

The US response has been criticized for being too modest, especially as the administration calls for booster injections to be made available to tens of millions of Americans before people at risk in the poorest countries receive their first dose.

“We have noted the failures of multilateralism to respond in a fair and coordinated manner to the most acute moments. Colombian President Iván Duque told the United Nations on Tuesday that the gaps that exist between countries in the vaccination process are unheard of.

More than 5.9 billion doses of COVID-19 were administered worldwide during the past year, representing about 43 percent of the world’s population. But there are wide disparities in distribution, with many low-income countries struggling to vaccinate even the most vulnerable of their populations, with some still exceeding 2% to 3% of vaccination rates.

Speaking at the United Nations, Biden took credit Tuesday for sharing more than 160 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with other countries, including 130 million surplus doses and the first deliveries of more than 500 million doses that America is buying. the rest of the other nations. Globalism.

Chilean President Sebastián Piñera said the “victory” of rapid vaccine development was met with a political “failure” that led to unfair distribution. “In science, cooperation prevailed; in politics and individualism. In science shared information prevailed; in politics, the reserve. In science, teamwork prevailed; in politics, the isolated effort, “said Piñera.

The World Health Organization says only 15 percent of pledged vaccine donations have been delivered, from rich countries with access to large quantities. The UN health agency said it wanted countries to fulfill their promises to share doses “immediately” and make the injections available to programs that benefit poor countries and Africa in particular.

The COVAX program, which is supported by the United Nations to ship vaccines to all countries, has been plagued by production problems, supply shortages and the rounding of the vaccine market by wealthy nations.

The World Health Organization has urged companies that produce vaccines to prioritize COVAX and make their supply schedules public. He also called on rich countries to avoid the widespread diffusion of booster doses so that the doses can be provided to healthcare workers and people at risk in the developing world. Such calls have been largely ignored.

COVAX has not met nearly all of its vaccine sharing goals. Its directors have also lowered their ambitions to ship vaccines by the end of this year, from the original goal of around 2 billion doses worldwide to hopes of 1.4 billion now. Even this signal can be lost.