The United States and international partners launched a new COVID-19 Global Action Plan to increase COVID-19 vaccinations around the world, end the acute phase of the pandemic and strengthen global health security.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the plan February 14 at a virtual meeting of nations and organizations that are helping vaccinate the world.
“Billions of people remain vulnerable to COVID,” Blinken said at the outset of the meeting, noting more must be done. “We need to take all efforts and contributions that our countries are already making and intensify them.”
Less than 11% of people in low-income countries have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Nearly 90 nations are not on track to meet a World Health Organization goal of vaccinating 70% of each country by September 2022.
.@SecBlinken on the COVID pandemic: We know from hard experience that as long as the virus is percolating anywhere, it may be developing new variants, and those variants may come back and defeat the defenses and remedies that we put in place. https://t.co/W0PzCNBbq0 pic.twitter.com/NlZAm9ygB0
— Department of State (@StateDept) February 14, 2022
The new Global Action Plan targets barriers to vaccine delivery and aims to increase vaccination rates in the following ways:
- Get more shots in arms by increasing access to COVID-19 vaccines.
- Strengthen supply chains for COVID-19 vaccines, test kits and treatments.
- Address information gaps that lead to vaccine hesitancy.
- Provide greater support for health care workers, including vaccines and equipment.
- Improve access to treatment for COVID-19 patients.
- Bolster global health security with sustainable financing for pandemic preparedness and response.
Participants in the meeting included representatives of Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as the African Union, the European Commission and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The United States will support all aspects of the Global Action Plan and lead efforts to strengthen supply chains and improve global health security. To maintain focus on global vaccinations, President Biden will host a COVID-19 summit later this year.
Blinken announced a U.S. donation of 5 million doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust.
The United States has already delivered more than 435 million safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses to over 110 countries, part of a commitment to donate 1.2 billion doses worldwide with no political strings attached. Many U.S. vaccine donations are made through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility, the international partnership dedicated to equitably delivering vaccines.
Blinken hailed Japan’s steps to tackle COVID-19 vaccine delivery challenges in roughly 60 countries and said Uganda’s recent COVID-19 vaccination surge shows how much can be accomplished quickly.
With support from international donors and the WHO, the Ugandan government increased the country’s COVID-19 vaccination rate from 14% to 47%, nearly half the country’s adult population, in just six weeks.
“With that level of coordination, partnership, and commitment, we can and we will end this pandemic,” Blinken said.
Banner image: Secretary of State Antony Blinken is urging nations to help increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in low-income countries. He cited Uganda, where residents lined up in Kampala to receive vaccinations February 8, as an example of how quickly countries can increase vaccination rates. (© Hajarah Nalwadda/AP Images)