Biden Pledges $4 Billion to Global Vaccination Program COVAX
President Joe Biden has announced that his administration will officially contribute $4 billion to COVAX, a World Health Organisation-backed global program aimed at assisting developing countries. The President made the announcement at a virtual meeting of G-7 leaders. Officials say that this bold move will protect national security efforts and help control the COVID-19 pandemic globally.
The funding will be released in stages. The United States will first make a $2 billion contribution to COVAX and then spread out the remaining $2 billion over the next two years. The administration has also pledged another $500 million when other donor pledges are fulfilled.
Congress specifically set aside these funds for foreign pandemic assistance and administration officials insist that it helps Americans by reducing the risk of further mutations that could endanger American lives. It will also help speed up the rate of vaccinations globally. This move is a considerable departure from former President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump withdrew from the World Health Organization and signed an executive order that prioritized vaccines for Americans. However, contrary to some reports, the Biden administration has made it clear that the US will only donate to lower-income countries once supply and access to the vaccines have been made available to Americans.
Some experts are questioning whether the pledge serves the purpose for which it was intended. A few global health officials contend that the problem isn’t about access to the vaccine but the fact that there aren’t enough vaccines to buy. The US has contributed to this state of affairs by hoarding hundreds of millions of doses for Americans. The US isn’t alone in this. Rich countries – which account for 14 percent of the global population – have bought 53 percent of the world’s vaccine to inoculate their populations. This means that many lower-income countries will not be able to start vaccination drives until 2022 which increases the risk of new variants emerging. Boris Johnson from the United Kingdom and leaders from the European Union have also pledged their support to COVAX.