Biden pledges $4 billion for COVAX vaccinations program

US will send $2 billion to global Covid vaccine program targeting developing nations

Biden to pledge US$4 billion to COVAX vaccine program at G7 meeting Friday

Rich countries are on course to have over a billion more doses of COVID-19 vaccines than they need, leaving poorer nations scrambling for leftover supplies as the world seeks to curb the coronavirus pandemic, a report by anti-poverty campaigners found on Friday.

In addition to discussing vaccine distribution, Biden also plans to use the meeting to discuss G-7 countries' collective competitiveness and economic challenges posed by China, according to the White House.

There has been pressure on Biden to donate a percentage of the US vaccine allotment to poorer countries, including from France's Emmanuel Macron.

It had fallen short of its funding targets, but the $2 billion offered by the U.S. will make up significant ground.

"I can confirm according to the information we've been given that we will receive 2.8 million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine as part of the COVAX", health minister Faisal Sultan told a news conference.

That is likely to mean the U.S. will have ample surplus doses that could be donated to poorer nations.

"When we have a sufficient supply it is our intention to consider donating surplus vaccines, absolutely", said one official.

The global aid organization UNICEF has said countries that have vaccinated their own health workers and populations at highest risk of severe disease should share vaccine doses with other countries so they can do the same.

"It's no longer a question of if the United States will get enough shots for everyone who wants one, but what we plan to do with the excess doses we have purchased", said Tom Hart, North America executive director at The ONE Campaign.

Dr Moeti briefed Health Ministers on the region's overall state of readiness for Africa's largest-ever immunisation drive, planned vaccines delivery dates and next steps, including documentation required by COVAX related to regulatory readiness, indemnity and liability agreements so vaccine manufacturers can schedule shipment dates.

COVAX is finalizing the first and second quarter allocations of the vaccine to participants in the COVAX facility, a joint project of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), and WHO.

He said the worldwide community needs to continue to unite and strengthen multilateral cooperation to effectively coordinate joint efforts on pandemic prevention, affirming Vietnam would continue to contribute its best to the joint efforts to overcome the pandemic.

"We also call on our G7 and other partners to work alongside Gavi, to bring in billions more in resources to support global COVID-19 vaccination, and to target urgent vaccine manufacturing, supply, and delivery needs", the White House said. "You know, the President is engaged with a range of leaders around the world, conveying how he wants to return the United States to have a central seat on the world stage, and we're working to do that through a range of actions".

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