Nearly three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, global suffering continues despite heroic efforts by our healthcare workers, private citizens, institutions, organizations, countries, and economies. Throughout, it has remained a fact that no one country acting alone can stop the virus. As President Biden has made clear since the September 2021 Global COVID-19 Summit, vaccinating the world, saving lives now, and building back better require concerted global action. Together, the international community can end the acute phase of the pandemic. Today’s COVID-19 Global Action Meeting was an important step toward achieving this shared goal.
Today I convened foreign ministers and senior leaders from countries and international organizations who will help coordinate additional leadership, political will, capacity, and resources, to achieve specific targets in the global COVID-19 response. Together, we identified urgent gaps in response activities and aligned around specific roles to advance global efforts aimed at bringing this pandemic under control and strengthening readiness for future global health threats. We agreed that more political leadership is needed to save lives and end this pandemic cycle in 2022.
We also discussed the COVID-19 Prioritized Global Action Plan for Enhanced Engagement (GAP), which outlines six lines of global effort to respond to acute pandemic needs. Participants committed to lead coordination roles and concrete actions in support of these elements to complement efforts of WHO and other multilateral organizations:
- To Get Shots in Arms, participants discussed coordinated efforts to improve vaccine readiness and logistics, in step with increased donations and procurement, toward the goal of at least 70 percent of the population fully vaccinated with quality, safe, and effective vaccines in every country and income category by September 2022. We recognized the need to focus on difficult-to-reach populations.
- To Bolster Supply Chain Resilience, participants explored mechanisms to facilitate sufficient and steady supplies of critical products and materials that are needed to break this cycle of the COVID-19 pandemic, including establishing mechanisms to identify and remove medical supply chain bottlenecks.
- To Address Information Gaps, participants considered global efforts to enhance vaccine confidence and combat the spread of false information, enlisting regional champions and medical, civil society, young people, and faith leaders to use evidence based, accurate, locally relevant messaging.
- To Support Health Workers, participants emphasized the need to take action toward the health, safety, and wellbeing of frontline health workers, and recognized the need to improve their training and numbers to effectively support the COVID-19 response.
- To Ensure Acute Non-Vaccine Interventions, we discussed the need for greater collaboration and policy innovation in the provision of therapeutics, testing regimes, and oxygen where needed most.
- To Strengthen Global Health Security Architecture, participants also stressed the importance to both end the current pandemic and. secure future preparedness for health emergencies at the national, regional and global level.
We will remain engaged on all six lines of effort in the GAP, and we will redouble our commitment to strengthen efforts to get shots in arms, bolster supply chain resilience, and strengthen the global health security architecture in collaboration with multilateral efforts. I also announced the U.S. government is making a direct donation of 5 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), the African Union’s vaccine procurement and distribution effort. The first five million doses are already shipping to countries across the continent. Together with doses provided in partnership with COVAX, this brings the total doses the United States has donated to Africa to more than 155 million – as part of the 435 million doses donated worldwide.
Throughout the meeting, we recognized the progress made over the duration of the pandemic and the challenges that remain. Everyone has a role to play in ending this acute phase of the pandemic. The implementation and achievement of the GAP depends on collaboration between governments, NGOs, multilateral organizations, the private sector, philanthropic institutions, civil society, and private citizens. In that spirit, the United States looks forward to continued consultations bringing together an expanded group of partners in action-oriented roles to help end this pandemic cycle in 2022 and strengthen global health security. We call on our partners and allies to build on the leadership expressed today and make tangible commitments that will help us reach this important goal.
Participants joining the United States in the COVID-19 Global Action Meeting included the Commonwealth of Australia, Canada, the Republic of Colombia, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of India, the Republic of Indonesia, the Italian Republic, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Senegal, the Republic of South Africa, the Kingdom of Spain, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the African Union/Africa Centres for Disease Control, the European Commission, and the World Health Organization.