November 26, 2022

U.S. has donated over 435 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to more than 110 countries and contributed $19 billion in health and humanitarian assistance to help combat pandemic, says top Biden official Mary Beth Goodman

Mary Beth Goodman
Mary Beth Goodman, the Acting Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security at the U.S. Department of State

The United States has donated over 435 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to more than 110 countries and economies worldwide and contributed $19 billion in health and humanitarian assistance to help combat pandemic, Mary Beth Goodman, the Acting Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security at the U.S. Department of State told a press briefing on Tuesday.

“We’re well on our way to meeting President Biden’s commitment of sharing 1.2 billion doses with the world by the end of this year. We’ve also contributed more than $19 billion in health and humanitarian assistance to help combat COVID-19 issues and to help ensure communities around the world have the resources that they need,” Ms. Goodman said while discussing the Global Action Plan and commitments made by the United States, international organization representatives, and foreign ministers to end the pandemic in 2022 and strengthen global health security. 

She said United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has been “very focused”, and has asserted that “there is no one country that can beat this pandemic, and it is going to take a significant amount of coordinated action to help break this pandemic cycle.”

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken delivers remarks at a cafeteria renaming ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 1, 2022. [State Department Photo by Freddie Everett / Public Domain]

“So Secretary Blinken convened a virtual meeting yesterday with foreign ministers and leaders of regional organizations, and also with the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros,” she said.  “The partners in this meeting committed to play a lead coordinating role on what we’re calling the COVID-19 Global Action Plan for Enhanced Engagement, otherwise known as the GAP.  And this GAP plan has six lines of effort that we believe will help accelerate action on a global scale.  These are lines of effort that have been universally accepted by the organizations who are at the heart of responding to this pandemic.”

According to her, those six lines of effort include, “Number one, to get shots in arms.  We know that there are challenges countries are facing, particularly on the African continent, with doses that land at airport tarmacs from all of the many countries that are sending donations, and taking those doses and turning them into vaccines going into arms.  So looking at the concrete efforts that need to come together like the pieces of a puzzle, if you will, that are going to help us really address these challenges, whether it’s cold-chain storage, whether it’s ensuring that all of the other essential components for the vaccines are also arriving and being utilized in concert with the doses.  So the vaccines, the needles, the syringes, all of the pieces that have to come together so that we truly get shots in arms.

“The second line of effort is bolstering supply chain resilience, and by this we mean the essential medical products that are needed to ensure a steady state of supply for the pandemic.  So again, the syringes, the needles, the high-quality PPE, and all of the essential things that we need to have continuing to flow not just from one particular source, but to be able to make sure that if a country goes offline because of an outbreak from the pandemic, that we have a ready, steady state of supply that we can pull upon to address the needs and continue to get these vaccines in arms.

“The third line of effort is to address information gaps, and this is really critical because there hasn’t always been a ready supply of vaccines in some countries.  But now that we do have sufficient global supply of the vaccines for the COVID deliveries that are starting to happen, there needs to be some quality messaging to help countries address the need to have their citizens get vaccinated and the importance, the public service type of messaging that is critical for citizens to know that they need to get this vaccine.  Another component in this line of effort is to address the misinformation that is so prevalent around the vaccines and which is causing some vaccine hesitancy and a lack of confidence in some places.  We see this here in the United States as well, and it indeed has become a global issue.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the FDA giving full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

“The fourth line of effort is to support health care workers, and we know that far too many of our health care workers and frontline medical workers have suffered egregiously in this pandemic.  That has happened to just virtually every country in the world.  So what do we need to do, particularly as we’re entering the third year of this pandemic and they’re so exhausted but providing such vital care for so many?  What do we need to do to better support our health care workers to ensure that they have access to the vaccine themselves in all countries, that they have the supplies they need, but also that they have the training and the support to really help them continue to do this lifesaving work?

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“The fifth line of effort is focused on testing and treatment and making sure that we have the non-vaccine interventions that are needed in this acute phase of the pandemic.  So as more products are being developed, as more technologies are coming on board with the treatments for therapeutics and diagnostics, antivirals – all of these components are very much about the lifesaving measures that we need to deploy now on a global scale.

“The sixth line of effort is to strengthen the global health security architecture, and there are many things that are already in the works through various international organizations and discussions about how we take advantage of the urgency of the now to also prepare for the next future pandemic or the next global health security issue that we may face.  So while we have to strengthen our international institutions to be able to be more responsive, we also need to build back better to ensure that they will be fit to help us all address another health emergency that may come on board in the future.”

Ms. Goodman added that “each of these lines of effort were presented to the countries who participated in the meeting yesterday.”

“We had commitments from various countries to take a coordinating role in helping to lead some of this effort at a global scale.  And so we will be working with all of our partners to help expand some of the work, to help address some of the acute needs, but really to have better donor coordination so that we are making sure that we are able to work in all of these countries to help them meet the acute needs in this phase of the pandemic.  Every country has had a different wave of Omicron hit them harder than some of the others, and so this is really about how do we do more to save lives now and to ensure that we are providing the resources in a more equitable and easy way for all countries to be able to address this pandemic.

“Part of the effort now will be focused on implementation and how we now coordinate and work with other countries that are going to be involved in this effort, but also how do we coordinate and work with the international organizations that are so vital to supplying some of this effort on the ground in many of these countries.

“So as we continue to do this work, I hope that you will stay engaged and help us continue to track the progress.  We still very much believe that it is important to try and have 70 percent of the population of each country vaccinated this year.  It is when we hit those large, higher levels of vaccination rates that the world is truly going to be able to move on from this COVID pandemic.  And I know it’s very frustrating – we’re all tired of these measures, these restrictions, wearing the mask and really just life in the pandemic.  But it is vitally important that we continue to have global cooperation, global coordination, and that we all do more; we all need to put more skin in the game, each and every country, in order to be able to really address the urgency of the critical issues that we have with COVID.

“There has been very little that has proven to be a certainty in this pandemic, because this is a very smart virus, and it has surprised us time and time again with numerous variants that have circled the world.  I think the one thing that we have realized with certainty is that this virus is going to continue to evolve, that we’re going to continue to see new variants as it evolves, that many countries are unfortunately not as prepared as they need to be to handle the urgency of the crisis, and that as these variants evolve, we’re going to have an impact on all our economies around the world.

“So that is why we are really trying to make sure that we are doing what we can to end this acute phase of the pandemic so that the world can get back to life as we knew it perhaps before COVID-19, but also so that we’re saving as many lives as possible to make sure that we do our part here,” she said.

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