Home >Politics >News >Biden to host global Covid-19 virtual summit

President Biden will host a virtual summit of world leaders and global health officials next week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the White House said Friday.

At the summit, which is set to take place on Sept. 22, Mr. Biden is expected to call on world leaders to commit to vaccinating 70% of the world’s population against Covid-19 within a year, according to a person familiar with draft targets outlined by the administration. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on that target.

The director-general of the World Health Organization said in June that vaccinating at least 70% of the global population against Covid-19 would require 11 billion doses.

In a statement, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr. Biden would ask for a “higher level of ambition" in the following areas: vaccinating the world; making oxygen, therapeutics and personal protective equipment more widely available; creating sustainable financing and leadership to tackle emerging threats; and holding countries accountable with targets and tracking progress.

The Biden administration has so far donated 140 million vaccine doses to nearly 100 countries through Covax, the international vaccination effort, or directly to partners, Jeff Zients, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator, said Friday.

“The president has been clear that we will do more and more to help lead the world in getting the world vaccinated," Mr. Zients said, adding that the UNGA meeting, where he expects the pandemic to be a major topic of discussion, is a “moment for countries around the world to rally to do more to help accelerate the globe’s exit from this pandemic."

Global health experts have emphasized the need to close the gap in vaccinations between advanced economies and developing nations, warning that a failure to do so could also risk the spread of more variants world-wide.

Mr. Biden has said the U.S. will be a world leader in vaccinations against Covid-19 after his administration focused in its early months on steps to inoculate the American public.

The president said in June at the Group of Seven summit in the U.K. that the U.S. would donate 500 million Pfizer doses to the rest of the world. His administration said at the time that 200 million were expected to be exported this year and 300 million in the first half of next year.

Mr. Zients and other White House officials declined to comment Friday on whether the U.S. would purchase more Pfizer vaccine doses to share globally as part of the renewed effort. In a statement, a spokeswoman for Pfizer said the company was working with governments around the world to ensure access to its vaccine.

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