President Biden called on rich nations and philanthropists to do more to end the pandemic, saying the United States will buy 500 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to donate to countries around the world for delivery by next September.
The White House said the goal is to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population for COVID-19 by this time next year.
“We’re not going to solve this crisis with half-measures or middle-of-the-road ambitions. We need to go big,” Biden said at a virtual summit.
Biden’s goal fell short of what global health advocates have been pushing for. Those tensions came out during the summit.
During his remarks, which were not open to the press, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated a call for a more ambitious goal: vaccinating 40% of people in all countries by the end of this year and 70% in the first half of 2022.
Guterres was critical of wealthy nations scooping up vaccine contracts for their own populations while middle-income countries compete for doses in a seller’s market and poor countries are left to wait for donations.
“High-income countries have administered 61 times more doses per inhabitant than low-income countries,” Guterres said, noting earlier pledges by Group of Seven leaders have not yet fully materialized. “Just 3% of Africans have been vaccinated. [See the full article]