By Leigh Hartman

The United States and Quad partner nations are ramping up production of U.S.-developed vaccines in India to strengthen vaccination efforts across the Indo-Pacific.

President Biden announced the vaccine partnership plan March 12 at the outset of the first leaders’ summit of the Quad, a partnership between the United States, India, Japan and Australia.

We’re “launching an ambitious new joint partnership that is going to boost vaccine manufacturing” for global benefit and “strengthen vaccinations to benefit the entire Indo-Pacific,” Biden said. Under the plan, Quad nations will finance, manufacture and distribute at least 1 billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.

“Building on the progress our countries have achieved on health security, we will join forces to expand safe, affordable, and effective vaccine production and equitable access, to speed economic recovery and benefit global health,” the leaders of the four democracies say in a joint statement.

Biden and his Quad counterparts — Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India, Yoshihide Suga of Japan and Scott Morrison of Australia — also affirmed their commitment to fighting climate change and supporting the rule of law across the Indo-Pacific region.

The Quad members are working to:

  • Strengthen the climate actions of all nations.
  • Meet the challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas.
  • Support the people of Burma’s calls for the restoration of democracy.
  • Ensure technological innovation is consistent with a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“We are united by our democratic values and our commitment to a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.” Modi said. “We will work together, closer than ever before, for advancing our shared values and promoting a secure, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

The Quad partnership emerged from the countries’ humanitarian response to the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean. In recent years, senior officials from the partner nations have consulted on issues such as maritime security, cybersecurity, countering disinformation and counterterrorism, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

This first Quad leaders’ summit is the first multilateral summit Biden has hosted as president, showing his commitment to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

“The United States is committed to working with you, our partners, and all our allies in the region to achieve stability,” Biden said. “[W]e’re renewing our commitment to ensure that our region is governed by international law, committed to upholding universal values, and free from coercion.”

In February, Biden announced a $2 billion U.S. contribution to the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), an international effort to support access to vaccines in low and middle-income countries. The United States is collaborating with partners, governments and the private sector to support global COVID-19 vaccination efforts and has already announced the release of an additional $2 billion to COVAX through 2022.

Banner image: The United States and its Quad partners are supporting production of at least 1 billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in India. (© David Zalubowski/AP Images)