Countries step up global fight against COVID-19

Countries and organizations around the globe are redoubling efforts to vaccinate the world against COVID-19, save lives now, and prepare for future pandemics and other health crises.

At the Second COVID-19 Summit, held virtually May 12, leaders of numerous countries, the private sector and nongovernmental groups committed a total of $3.2 billion to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and invest in global health security.

“Collectively we are making significant new commitments to help keep up the fight against COVID-19 in 2022, protect the most vulnerable populations, and prepare for the next health crisis,” President Biden said at the outset of the summit, co-hosted by the United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal.

Biden specifically commended Italy and Indonesia for spearheading creation of a new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund that will be established at the World Bank this summer. The United States will provide an additional $200 million to support the new fund, bringing the total announced contribution to $450 million to date.

The summit drew pledges from more than three dozen countries, as well as the African and European unions, and from private sector and nongovernmental organizations. Their pledges to fight COVID-19 and prevent future pandemics include:

  • Germany, Italy, Spain and other European nations’ pledge of more than $1 billion to develop new vaccines to combat future variants and support testing and therapeutics.
  • Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol’s announcement of $300 million to the World Health Organization’s Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, dedicated to equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge of $732 million to expand access to COVID-19 vaccine doses in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Commitments from Colombia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palau, Rwanda, Tanzania and others to bolster domestic vaccination, testing and treatment programs — especially for the most vulnerable.

The United States has provided nearly $20 billion to fight COVID-19 worldwide and supplied more than 539 million safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses to 110 countries free of charge. The vaccine donations, mostly delivered through COVAX, are part of Biden’s pledge for the United States to share more than 1.2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses with other countries.

To further combat disease worldwide, Biden told summit participants, the United States will share critical COVID-19 technologies, including the stabilized spike protein that is used in many COVID-19 vaccines. The United States will also partner with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to bring rapid tests and antiviral treatment to people in hard-to-reach communities.

While commending the collective progress toward fighting COVID-19, Biden said more must be done to get vaccine doses to those who need them most.

“We must honor those we have lost by doing everything we can to prevent as many deaths as possible,” Biden said.

“We’re going to face, together, global health crises,” he said. “This is not the last one we’ve had. It’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s a question of ‘when.’ So we have to invest now.”