Biden Hosts Covid Virtual Summit To Boost Global Response

Declaring “we have to go big,” President Biden on Wednesday called on other world leaders, pharmaceutical leaders, philanthropists and c...

Declaring “we have to go big,” President Biden on Wednesday called on other world leaders, pharmaceutical leaders, philanthropists and civil society organizations to unite to forge a global consensus around a plan to fight the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking at the opening of a virtual summit on Covid-19 that he is convening in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, Mr. Biden cited two particularly urgent challenges: to vaccinate the world against Covid-19, and solving a global oxygen crisis, resulting in unnecessary deaths among Covid-19 patients who could survive if oxygen were available.

“We are not going to solve this crisis with half measures or ambitions in the middle of the road – we have to go big,” the president said, adding: “It is a crisis at every level.”

But it can be difficult to turn Mr. Biden’s words into reality. Less than 10 percent of the population in poor countries – and less than 4 percent of Africa’s population – have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Globally, 79 percent of injections that were given were in high and upper middle income countries, according to the Our World in Data project of the University of Oxford. Covax, the WHO-backed international immunization initiative, is behind schedule in delivering vaccines to low- and middle-income countries that need it most.

Globally, more than 4.5 million people have died from Covid-19 – a “global tragedy,” Mr Biden said. The President also announced a new partnership with the European Union aimed at expanding access to vaccines. And Vice President Kamala Harris has announced that the United States will contribute $ 250 million to launch a new global fund that the administration hopes to raise $ 10 billion to fight future pandemics.

But critics of the administration expected little of the rally.

“This summit deserves to be, must be, a debate of historic dimensions,” Peter Maybarduk, director of access to medicines for Public Citizen, the consumer advocacy organization, who urged the administration to adopt a plan $ 25 billion to scale up the vaccine. manufacture worldwide.

“But it won’t be that kind of debate,” he added, adding that he believed the hosts probably wouldn’t be seriously challenged by less powerful governments and vulnerable people. “It will not produce the transformative response needed to end the pandemic,” he said.

The summit was to begin with Mr. Biden and other world leaders, including António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, virtually meeting for a small roundtable titled “Calling the World to Account and Vaccinating the World”, moderated by Linda Thomas -Greenfield, Mr. Biden’s Ambassador to the United Nations. Attendees include other presidents and prime ministers, including President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, according to an agenda obtained by The New York Times.

White House officials have said Mr Biden’s message to the group will be that the United States cannot tackle the pandemic alone or cope with the global vaccine shortage. Earlier Wednesday, Pfizer-BioNTech announced that it had reached an agreement with the Biden administration to sell the United States an additional 500 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine, to be donated to countries in need.

Mr Biden announced the deal in his opening remarks, saying it would bring the total number of doses his administration has purchased for the donation to 1.1 billion. “In other words, for every hit that we administered to pay in America, we are now committed to doing three hits to the rest of the world,” he said.

Leaders of pharmaceutical companies, philanthropists and leaders of nonprofits were also invited to the summit, which administration officials say is the largest gathering of heads of state to date to fight against the global pandemic.

Mr. Biden was under intense pressure from global health experts do more to address the vaccine shortage – and in particular expand manufacturing around the world. Mr Biden said the United States was doing it, in a partnership with India, Japan and Australia which he said “is on track to produce at least $ 1 billion. vaccine doses in India to increase global supply by the end of 2022 “.

Drug manufacturers are also under pressure to do more. The Biden administration has urged Pfizer and Moderna to enter into joint ventures in which they license their technology to outsource manufacturers to deliver vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, according to a senior administration official.

Those talks led to Pfizer’s donation, but talks with Moderna did not bear fruit, the official said.

In a briefing hosted by Physicians for Human Rights earlier this week, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the chief scientist of the World Health Organization, sounded an emergency note and called on nations to work together to distribute vaccines in a coordinated and equitable manner. She also urged countries to share their excess supplies.

“A country-by-country approach, a nationalist approach, is not going to get us out of this pandemic,” she said. “And that’s where we are today.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden Hosts Covid Virtual Summit To Boost Global Response
Biden Hosts Covid Virtual Summit To Boost Global Response
Newsrust - US Top News
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