- The Washington Times - Monday, April 18, 2022

The White House and its foreign counterparts said Monday they will hold a second global COVID-19 summit to plot a path out of the acute phase of the pandemic and prepare for future health threats.

The governments will use the virtual summit to call on world leaders and the private sector to redouble their efforts in getting vaccines into arms and deploying virus treatments to poorer nations.

“We know we must prepare now to build, sustain, and finance the global capacity we need, not only for emerging COVID-19 variants but also future health crises. To help achieve these goals, we urge all countries and stakeholders to pledge to take urgent actions to create the systems we need to end the acute phase of COVID-19, save lives, and build better health security and health systems,” the White House said in a joint statement.

Included in the joint statement with the U.S., which chaired the first COVID-19 summit: Belize, which chairs the CARICOM group in the Caribbean; Germany, as holder of the Group of Seven presidency; Indonesia, as holder of the Group of 20 presidency; and Senegal, as the African Union chair.

President Biden convened the first COVID-19 summit in September.

At that time, getting enough shots to poorer countries was the focus, but the effort has pivoted to new problems, including hesitancy about the vaccine and last-mile hurdles in getting the shots transferred and stored properly.

Mr. Biden positioned the U.S. as a global leader in vaccine support for the world, but his plans have taken a hit in recent weeks. The Senate negotiated a $10 billion COVID-19 funding package for domestic needs but left out $5 billion for global support.

Even the approved $10 billion remains in limbo because of a spat over Mr. Biden’s decision to lift Title 42, a pandemic-related order that allowed the U.S. to turn away many migrants at the southern border.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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