The United States can recapture its leadership role by taking on what is one of the greatest humanitarian causes ever — and we need to bring this pandemic to an end. — Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut
The United States can recapture its leadership role by taking on what is one of the greatest humanitarian causes ever — and we need to bring this pandemic to an end. — Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut

If somebody had told us that 20 months into this pandemic we would still be seeing rates of infection and loss of life of the magnitude we are, I think we would have been absolutely horrified. — Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund
If somebody had told us that 20 months into this pandemic we would still be seeing rates of infection and loss of life of the magnitude we are, I think we would have been absolutely horrified. — Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund

We also know this virus transcends borders. That’s why, even as we execute this plan at home, we need to continue fighting the virus overseas, continue to be the arsenal of vaccines. That’s American leadership on a global stage. — President Joe Biden
We also know this virus transcends borders. That’s why, even as we execute this plan at home, we need to continue fighting the virus overseas, continue to be the arsenal of vaccines. That’s American leadership on a global stage. — President Joe Biden

The action by the U.S. is particularly important to shift things forward, and make people come around the table and discuss these issues. The more we delay in ensuring equitable access, the longer we wait, the longer the pandemic becomes. — Zane Dangor, a special adviser to South Africa’s foreign minister
The action by the U.S. is particularly important to shift things forward, and make people come around the table and discuss these issues. The more we delay in ensuring equitable access, the longer we wait, the longer the pandemic becomes. — Zane Dangor, a special adviser to South Africa’s foreign minister

Biden to Push Global Plan to Battle Covid as National Gaps Widen

Already grappling with divisions in his own country over vaccine mandates and questions about the ethics and efficacy of booster shots, President Biden is facing another front of discord: a split among world leaders over how to eradicate the coronavirus globally, as the highly infectious Delta variant leaves a trail of death in its wake.

... Covax, the United Nations-backed vaccine program, is so far behind schedule that not even 10 percent of the population in poor nations is fully vaccinated, experts said.

The push, which White House officials say seeks to inject urgency into vaccine diplomacy, will test Mr. Biden’s doctrine of furthering American interests by building global coalitions. Coming on the heels of the United States’ calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan last month that drew condemnation from allies and adversaries alike, the effort to rally world leaders will be closely watched by public health experts and advocates who say Mr. Biden is not living up to his pledges to make the United States the “arsenal of vaccines” for the world.

“This is one of the most moral questions of our time,” Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, said last week. “We cannot let the moment pass. And the United States can recapture its leadership role by taking on what is one of the greatest humanitarian causes ever — and we need to bring this pandemic to an end.”

The landscape is even more challenging now than when Covax was created in April 2020. Some nations in Asia have imposed tariffs and other trade restrictions on Covid-19 vaccines, slowing their delivery. India, home to the world’s largest vaccine maker, banned coronavirus vaccine exports. And an F.D.A. panel on Friday recommended Pfizer booster shots for those over 65 or at high risk of severe Covid, meaning that vaccine doses that could have gone to low and lower-middle income countries would remain in the United States.

“If somebody had told us that 20 months into this pandemic we would still be seeing rates of infection and loss of life of the magnitude we are, I think we would have been absolutely horrified,” said Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund, a founding partner in the global collaboration that created Covax.

“That should underscore a real sense of urgency, that when you’re fighting a pandemic, it doesn’t make sense to fight it slowly,” Mr. Sands said.

... “We also know this virus transcends borders,” Mr. Biden said on Sept. 9. “That’s why, even as we execute this plan at home, we need to continue fighting the virus overseas, continue to be the arsenal of vaccines.”

“That’s American leadership on a global stage,” he said.

Experts estimate that 11 billion doses are necessary to achieve widespread global immunity. The United States has pledged to donate more than 600 million — more than any other nation — and the Biden administration has taken steps to expand vaccine manufacturing in the United States, India and South Africa. The 27-nation European Union aims to export 700 million doses by the end of the year.

But as recently as July, only 37 percent of people in South America and 26 percent in Asia had received at least one vaccine shot, according to Rajiv J. Shah, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Obama administration. The figure stood at just 3 percent in Africa, Mr. Shah wrote in an essay published last month in Foreign Affairs.

... “The action by the U.S. is particularly important to shift things forward, and make people come around the table and discuss these issues,” said Zane Dangor, a special adviser to South Africa’s foreign minister. He said European Union officials “would like to kick this discussion further down the road.”

“The more we delay in ensuring equitable access, the longer we wait, the longer the pandemic becomes,” Mr. Dangor said last week.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/20/us/politics/covid-vaccines-worldwide.html