President Joe Biden plans to announce on Friday that the United States will contribute $2 billion to a U.N.-backed program seeking to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses to people in the poorest countries in the world, according to senior Biden administration officials.
Congress had already allocated the money in December for the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide to Gavi, an international vaccine distribution alliance. Congress provided a total of $4 billion and the officials said that the U.S. would give the rest to Gavi over the course of this year and 2022.
The move, which the White House said Biden intends to announce during a virtual meeting of the Group of Seven leaders, comes as the United States grapples with not yet having enough doses to vaccinate its own population, although the situation in poorer nations is far worse. [Continue reading…]
The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has sharply criticised the “wildly uneven and unfair” distribution of Covid vaccines, saying 10 countries have administered 75% of all vaccinations and demanding a global effort to get all people in every country vaccinated as soon as possible.
The UN chief told a high-level meeting of the UN security council on Wednesday that 130 countries had not yet received a single dose of vaccine.
“At this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community,” said.
Guterres called for an urgent global vaccination plan to bring together those with the power to ensure equitable vaccine distribution – scientists, vaccine producers and those who can fund the effort. [Continue reading…]
As lawmakers push for billions of dollars to fund the nation’s efforts to track coronavirus variants, the Biden administration announced on Wednesday a new effort to ramp up this work, pledging nearly $200 million to better identify the emerging threats.
Calling it a “down payment,” the White House said that the investment would result in a significant increase in the number of positive virus samples that labs could sequence. Public health laboratories, universities and programs run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sequenced more than 9,000 genomes last week, according to the database GISAID. The agency hopes to increase its own contribution to 25,000 genomes a week. [Continue reading…]