President Joe Biden will urge world leaders to collectively commit to vaccinating 70% of the world’s population against Covid-19 within a year, an ambitious goal he is expected to unveil during a summit gathering to discuss the pandemic next week.
Draft targets distributed by the United States to potential summit participants also list donating 1 billion additional vaccine doses and accelerating the delivery of 2 billion already-committed doses as further objectives to be signed onto during the virtual gathering.
The targets, obtained by CNN, also call on nations to ensure $3 billion is available this year and $7 billion in 2022, for “financing for vaccine readiness and administration, combating hesitancy, and procuring ancillary supplies.”
The United States requested countries who wish to participate in the summit endorse the list of draft targets and submit a short video outlining how they intend to achieve them.
Biden plans to host the summit next week to coincide with the annual meetings of the United National General Assembly, where he is due to speak next Tuesday. The Covid-19 summit is expected to mostly occur virtually, but is still timed around the yearly diplomatic flurry that surrounds the UN meetings.
The invitation says additional meetings are planned “at the highest levels” later this year and early 2022.
Speaking on CNN, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Sunday the President would have new announcements around the UN meetings.
“There will be more actions that we continue to work on in the days ahead, and especially on the global front, where we will be taking steps, and the President will be making announcements ahead of the UN General Assembly about additional measures that we’re taking to help vaccinate the world,” he told Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
Invitations to fellow world leaders to attend the summit contained the list of “draft targets,” including the vaccination goals and other aims like solving a shortage of oxygen and ensuring all countries have access to therapeutics for treating Covid patients.
Countries are tasked with donating 1 billion test kits and establishing surge manufacturing capacity for personal protective equipment in each region.
The White House declined to comment on the draft targets, which were first reported by The Washington Post, but said Biden would likely engage with fellow leaders on the pandemic during next week’s UN talks.
“It is safe to assume we are actively planning on Covid-19 engagements for the President on the margins of the UN General Assembly high level week,” spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One. “As part of President Biden’s ongoing effort to rally the world to end this pandemic, I anticipate there will be an opportunity for the President to engage with his counterparts on this issue during UNGA week.”
Biden has pledged to turn the United States into an “arsenal of vaccines” that can be shipped to the world, but has faced criticism for getting behind a plan to offer booster shots to all Americans before first doses are made available in many poorer countries.
The World Health Organization has called on nations to pause on booster plans until vaccines are more widely available around the world.
The US has donated or shipped more than 140 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to other countries, mostly through the COVAX global vaccine alliance.
“We have been leading the world on ending the pandemic and we will continue to do so,” Jean-Pierre said. “We’re having active discussions on how to best end the pandemic. We will continue to rally the international community to raise the level of our collective ambition and to take urgent actions as we see fit, as we move forward.”
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