President Joe Biden is expected to announce $4 billion U.S. aid to boost an international effort to purchase and distribute coronavirus vaccine to poor nations, White House officials said on condition of anonymity.
Biden will make the pledge at the virtual meeting of G-7 countries Friday. He will join leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan to mark his presidential debut on the world stage.
Biden had confirmed after his inauguration last month that the United States would rejoin the World Health Organization to strengthen global health. He also promised to contribute to Covax, an initiative by WHO to improve developing nations’ access to anti-COVID vaccines through a multilateral mechanism.
The Congress had approved $4 billion in US funding late last year.
At a White House briefing Thursday, press secretary Jen Psaki indicated that there would be more news “in the next 24 hours on our engagements and contributions to the overall global effort.”
“Our commitment is to work with and through COVAX to ensure that there is equitable distribution of vaccines and funding globally, and also that there is a standard through which these vaccines are considered and distributed,” she told reporters.
Ahead of the summit, leaders of Britain and France had called for G7 support to facilitate the roll-out of vaccines to poorer countries.
In an interview with the Financial Times, French President Emmanuel Macron urged the governments of Europe and the U.S. to urgently send up to 5 percent of their COVID vaccine supplies to poor nations.
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