Preventing Complacency and Prioritizing Preparedness
Today, the United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia, and Senegal convened other heads of state and world leaders from international organizations, the private sector, philanthropies, non-government organizations, and other partners for the 2nd Global COVID-19 Summit.
The United States issued a call to redouble global efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future health emergencies. The U.S. urged the world to prevent complacency and to keep political will strong. We also called on leaders to accelerate financial and policy commitments – country by country, community by community – to get shots into arms; expand access to tests and treatments; protect those at highest risk; and prevent future catastrophes by building and financing country capacity, health workers, disease surveillance, and medical countermeasures, including through the new health security fund at the World Bank.
Vice President Harris highlighted U.S. leadership and called on Congress to continue to make Americans and the world safer by promptly providing the $22.5 billion in supplemental funding for responding to COVID-19 that the Administration requested on March 2, 2022, including $5 billion to support the global effort to stop the spread of potential new variants, get shots into arms, expand access to tests and treatments, and save lives here at home and abroad.
U.S. leadership in vaccinating the world, saving lives, and building better health security
This Summit continues to highlight American leadership in the global COVID-19 response. As the world’s largest donor, the United States has to date provided more than $19 billion in health, humanitarian, and economic assistance and has committed to provide 1.2 billon vaccine doses to the world for free, of which we have already provided more than 535 million doses.
At the Summit, the United States called the world to action alongside co-hosts Belize, Germany, Indonesia, and Senegal. Leaders from around the world made bold new commitments to control COVID-19 and prevent future health crises. The U.S. announced new commitments to the global COVID-19 response and pandemic preparedness, building on substantial U.S. commitments made to date and during the last global COVID-19 Summit:
- Additional funding for a pandemic preparedness [and global health security] fund housed at the World Bank. Building on its initial commitment of $250 million previously announced at the first Global COVID-19 Summit, the United States intends to increase its initial contribution toward the establishment of the new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund at the World Bank by an additional $200 million, for a total of $450 million. Combined with funding pledged today by other donors, this funding makes a total of at least $960 million in seed funding in advance of the Fund’s launch this summer. The Fund will provide sustained financing for improving national, regional, and global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to pandemics and other infectious disease threats.
- Sharing U.S. Government COVID-19 vaccine-related intellectual property and research tools for greater global access. Through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the United States has recently licensed research tools and the intellectual property for several COVID-19 technologies to the Medicines Patent Pool, through the WHO COVID-19 Technology Access Pool. The licenses include the patent for the stabilized spike protein used in multiple existing COVID-19 vaccines. These licenses will enable manufacturers from around the world to use these technologies.
- The United States, through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), confirms its commitment to conducting thorough and efficient reviews of COVID-19 response products. While COVID-19 remains a public health emergency, FDA will prioritize the review of COVID-19 therapeutics, including applications seeking tentative approval of generic products. FDA grants tentative approvals for products that meet the requirements for FDA approval but cannot be approved for exclusivity or patent reasons.
- Test and Treat Strategy. The United States, alongside the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (“Global Fund”), Unitaid, and other ACT-Accelerator partners, will promote “test-and-treat” strategies for the most vulnerable populations in low and middle-income countries to help prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. The Global Fund will procure up to $80 million in COVID-19 rapid test kits and oral COVID-19 antiviral drugs, which would be linked to $20 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds that the U.S. Agency for International Development plans to use to quickly scale up test-and-treat implementation in up to eight countries globally in 2022, in coordination with other U.S. Government programs, including PEPFAR. It would build on an additional $22 million from Unitaid to produce over $120 million in investments to introduce test and treatment strategies in over 20 countries in 2022. This collaborative early investment would catalyze test-and-treat adoption and expansion in additional countries. This commitment is a down payment on U.S. leadership that can be fully realized if Congress acts to provide the President’s requested COVID-19 supplemental funding.
- Additional vaccination support through Global VAX. Building on the more than $1.7 billion in funds committed to date, The United States, through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is providing an additional $15 million the U.S. Initiative for Global Vaccine Access (Global VAX), a whole-of-government effort to accelerate and expand vaccine readiness uptake in high-need countries, including 11 surge support countries. This funding will enable CDC to provide additional technical assistance and service delivery to countries for vaccination efforts, with a focus on high-risk populations. This will build upon $1.7 billion the United States is already providing through Global VAX.
- Expanded investments in bilateral global health security programs. To advance the Global Health Security Agenda and to accelerate the implementation of U.S. Global Health Security Strategy, the U.S. government will expand the number of global health security intensive support partner countries by eight this year, including to three new regions. This will improve countries’ capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to future COVID-19 variants and future health threats.
- Expanding dose donation types to include boosters and pediatric doses to accelerate global vaccine coverage. The United States is expanding Pfizer vaccine dose types being donated globally to now include boosters and pediatric doses, as part of our 1 billion Pfizer dose donation commitment. This will help accelerate progress towards the 70% vaccination target and expand the availability of doses available for those at highest risk and for children globally.
- Improving guidance for vaccine development to enhance protection. The United States, through the FDA, is committing to help align global health authorities and the WHO to provide advice to COVID-19 vaccine producers to inform which strains they use as the basis for vaccines, using predictions about the predominance of future strains and which strains will lead to vaccines that provide the broadest protection against unknown future variants.
- Financing facility for COVID-19 vaccine and ancillary supply purchases and delivery through the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). DFC has set up a vehicle to provide up to $1 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to provide bridge financing guaranteeing commitments from other donors. This will allow COVAX to react immediately in a crisis to purchase and deliver ancillary supplies and vaccines on behalf of developing countries participating in the COVAX Advance Market Commitment.
- Advancing COVID-19 vaccine research and development through the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). At least $50 million of the U.S. Government’s recent $150 million, 3-year pledge to CEPI will support COVID-19 vaccine research in addition to the development of other vaccines and countermeasures for future emerging infectious diseases, with the goals of making vaccines more broadly protective and easier to administer in low-resource settings.
Despite these commitments to combat COVID-19 and enhance future preparedness against health threats, there is more work to be done to ensure the United States can continue to lead, to make Americans and the world safer. President Biden continues to urge Congress to act promptly to provide supplemental resources. Without additional emergency funding, the United States will be unable to purchase additional life-saving treatments for the American people. The United States will be less able to stop the spread of possible new variants from around the world. The United States will be unable to keep vaccinating the world against COVID-19 and getting shots into arms, to save lives here at home and abroad.