Leaders Pledge Vaccines, Treatments and Health Investment
President Biden hosted heads of state and philanthropy and private sector leaders for a second summit on COVID-19 response. At the virtual gathering, leaders of over 35 countries pledged actions to vaccinate 70% of the world population, expand access to tests and treatments and invest in global health security.
“Too many developing countries lack access to vaccines, treatments and medical equipment to fight the coronavirus,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “The White House is playing a vital coordinating role for a global response to the health crises spurred by the pandemic.”
President Biden co-hosted the summit with chairs of the G7, G20, the African Union and CARICOM. In September, the Biden Administration organized the first COVID summit, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
The World Health Organization estimates 15 million people have died due to the coronavirus. In Africa, only 12% of the population is fully vaccinated.
“Continued spread of the virus keeps alive the threat of new mutations that could be more lethal or elude vaccines," added LeCompte. "Now developing countries are also dealing with food and fuel challenges because of the war in Ukraine. Without more aid and debt relief, many countries won't have the resources to confront the pandemic or prepare for future health threats."
The US pledged additional funds for a proposed global pandemic fund at the World Bank that the G20 supports, bringing the US total pledges to $450 million. At the meeting World Bank chief David Malpass announced he expects to launch the fund, which collected almost $1 billion in commitments, in June.
Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to deliver one billion vaccines to developing countries, half of which the US already sent.
“While vaccine distribution played into the conference, much of the focus was on preparing for future health crises,” stated LeCompte.