- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 18, 2021

President Biden plans to announce on Friday that the United States will commit to $4 billion in funding for global efforts to distribute coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries.

Mr. Biden plans to announce the funding for COVAX, a World Health Organization initiative to facilitate the distribution of vaccines to low-income countries, at a virtual meeting with Group of Seven (G-7) leaders.

The funds were authorized by Congress and are set to be distributed over the next two years.

“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,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.

The money would go to Gavi, a vaccine distribution group that co-leads COVAX along with the WHO.

The U.S. plans to commit an initial $2 billion to Gavi and an additional $2 billion through 2021 and 2022.

Part of the second tranche would be contingent on other donors fulfilling their pledges and the initial vaccine doses getting distributed.

“We also call on our G7 and other partners to work alongside Gavi, to bring in billions more in resources to support global COVID-19 vaccination, and to target urgent vaccine manufacturing, supply, and delivery needs,” the White House said.

The White House had previously signaled the U.S. would join the COVAX initiative, which the Trump administration eschewed because of its ties to the WHO.

The administration indicated Thursday that joining the initiative would not affect domestic vaccination efforts and that increasing global vaccine distribution efforts could cut down on new variants migrating to the U.S.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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