Biden plans millionaire contribution to global vaccination plan

Joe Biden will use his first big moment as president on the global stage: the meeting of the Group of Seven, to announce that the United States will soon begin to allocate 4,000 million dollars to an international program to promote the purchase and distribution of the vaccine against the coronavirus to poor nations, White House officials reported Thursday.

Biden will also encourage G-7 partners to fulfill their commitments to the COVAX platform, which is an initiative by the World Health Organization to expand access to vaccines, according to a senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity to offer a preview of Biden’s announcement.

Former President Donald Trump refused to participate in the COVAX initiative because of his ties to the WHO, the Geneva-based agency that the former president accused of covering up China’s missteps in handling the coronavirus at the start of the pandemic.

Trump withdrew the United States from the WHO, but Biden quickly reinstated it after he took office last month and confirmed that the nation would contribute to COVAX.

The $ 4 billion in US funding was approved by the federal Congress in December and will be distributed over the next two years.

The United States is committed to working through COVAX to ensure that there is “equitable distribution of vaccines and funding globally,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

It remains to be seen how the G-7 partners will take up Biden’s requests for greater international cooperation for the distribution of the vaccines, given that the United States refused to participate in the initiative during the Trump administration and that there is increasing more requests for the Biden administration to distribute some vaccines produced on US soil abroad.

During an interview with the Financial Times, French President Emmanuel Macron called on the United States and European nations to allocate up to 5% of their current vaccine supplies to developing countries, the kind of international assistance that China and Russia have provided. started to implement.

And a few days ago, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, harshly criticized the “incredibly unequal and unfair” distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, noting that 10 countries have administered 75% of all doses.

But Biden, who announced last week that the United States will have enough doses of the vaccine by the end of the summer to inoculate 300 million people, remains focused for now on ensuring that every American is vaccinated, government officials said.

The president, in his first national security memorandum issued last month, asked his administration to develop a framework for donating leftover vaccines once there was a sufficient supply in the United States.