United States will pledge US$4 billion to a vaccination program for poorer countries at a global economic summit this Friday and hopes other countries will follow and contribute additional funds, the White House anticipated.
US will be following on UK's initiative for more funding for the UN’s response to the pandemic, for the World Health Organization and for the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which plans to distribute two billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to developing countries this year.
UK is one of the largest donors to the COVAX AMC, providing some US$ 680 million for the scheme which was launched at the UK-hosted Global Vaccine Summit in June 2020. In addition to this, the UK has used match funding to help raise US$ 1 billion from other donors for the COVAX AMC.
At a meeting of the Group of Seven (G-7) nations, a summit for the world's largest economies, the president Joe Biden will announce plans to immediately grant US$2 billion to the international Covax program, which aims to ensure a fair supply of coronavirus vaccines around the world, officials said.
The United States will supply the remaining US$2 billion over the next two years as other nations fulfill their own pledges, the officials said. “We want to turn this into a way to translate US$2 billion into several billion dollars, up to at least US$15 billion”
The US funding has already been approved by Congress. Joe Biden’s action is a sharp departure from his predecessor Donald Trump’s threat to withdraw from the WHO, which he accused of being too close to China, where the novel coronavirus emerged in late 2019.
Covax aims to deliver at least 2 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021 to cover 20% of the most vulnerable people in poor and middle-income countries. The program is at risk of failing, mainly due to a lack of funds.
The head of the Gavi vaccine alliance, which co-leads the program, has also said Covax needs greater political support, as wealthier nations strike fresh deals with developers to secure limited supplies. The incoming head of the World Trade Organization and others have underscored the urgent need to jump-start vaccinations across Africa and in other regions that are lagging behind.
The US officials said the donations would not interfere with Mr Biden’s promise to have enough vaccines available for all Americans who want them by the end of July.