A year ago, the United States was at the epicenter of the AIDS-19 pandemic, forcing the cancellation of the Group of Seven summit it was to chair. Now the country appears as a model for recovery after more than 15 months of global crisis.
For President Joe Biden, who will meet with the leaders of the G7 rich democracies on his first trip abroad since taking office, it is a personal vindication of his pledge to defeat the virus in his own country, but also a call to action for other countries to join the global fight.
On Thursday, on the eve of the summit, Biden will unveil plans to donate 500 million doses of the vaccine worldwide next year, in addition to the 80 million doses he has promised to deliver by the end of the month. U.S. officials say Biden will ask other G7 members to do the same.
We have to end COVID-19, not just at home, as we are doing, but everywhere, Biden told members of the armed forces on the first stop of his eight-day, three-nation trip. He added that the campaign requires coordinated multilateral action.
There is no wall high enough to guard against this pandemic or the next biological threat we face, and there will be others, he added.
The United States is facing increasing pressure to come forward with its vaccine donation plan, especially as inequality deepens among various parts of the world and demand for the injections in the country plummets.
Washington has pledged to purchase and donate 500 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for distribution through the COVAX alliance to 92 low-income countries and the African Union. It will thus be COVAX’s largest vaccine donor and its largest financial donor, with a commitment of $4 billion.
So far, the global alliance has distributed just 81 million doses, and parts of the world, especially in Africa, are completely lacking in vaccines.