U.S. will send $2 billion to global Covid vaccine program targeting developing nations

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will announce plans to contribute up to $4 billion to a global Covid-19 vaccine program aimed toward helping developing international locations, a transfer officers argue will bolster American nationwide safety pursuits by serving to management the pandemic globally.

The United States will contribute an preliminary $2 billion within the coming days to a World Health Organization-backed program known as COVAX that helps entry to vaccines for 92 international locations. The remaining $2 billion will be contributed over the subsequent two years, together with one other $500 million when different donor pledges are fulfilled and preliminary doses are delivered.

While thousands and thousands of Americans are nonetheless waiting to get entry to the vaccine, administration officers mentioned that contributing the funds, which had been particularly appropriated by Congress in December for international pandemic help, will assist Americans by lowering the chance of additional mutations that might lengthen the pandemic.

“We do think that it is vital to take a role in beating the pandemic globally and to really put U.S. leadership out there to do this,” a senior administration official mentioned. “It’s critically important to surge vaccination globally, while we’ll of course prioritizing vaccinations here at home.”

The transfer highlights Biden’s totally different strategy to global affairs after former President Donald Trump withdrew from the WHO and signed an government order prioritizing vaccines for Americans earlier than serving to different international locations. Still, senior administration officers mentioned the U.S. will solely take into account donating vaccines to lower-income international locations as soon as sufficient provide has been secured to vaccinate all Americans, opposite to what some global well being organizations requested.

The global help group UNICEF has mentioned international locations which have vaccinated their very own well being employees and populations at highest threat of extreme illness ought to share vaccine doses with different international locations to allow them to do the identical. Nearly 130 international locations, with 2.5 billion folks, have but to administer a single dose, the group mentioned Feb. 10, which UNICEF known as a “self-defeating strategy” that will give additional alternative for the virus to mutate.

It can be unclear how a lot the funding will assist in the short-term. Some global well being officers have complained that funding is not the difficulty when it comes to getting the vaccine shortly to developing international locations as a result of there is not sufficient vaccine to purchase, an issue the U.S. has contributed to by snatching up a whole lot of thousands and thousands of doses for Americans.

Biden will make the announcement at a digital assembly Friday of G-7 leaders the place the global pandemic response is anticipated to be the main target of the gathering.

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