US announces initiative for global vaccine access around the world with Africa a top priority

Power announced the effort during a ministerial meeting of key international development partners from around the world, which she convened to discuss the next phase of actions needed to combat the pandemic.

The Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power on Monday announced the foundation of a new government initiative for Global Vaccine Access (Global VAX).

Power announced the effort during a ministerial meeting of key international development partners from around the world, which she convened to discuss the next phase of actions needed to combat the pandemic.

The aim is to “accelerate global efforts to get COVID-19 shots into arms and enhance international coordination to identify and rapidly overcome access barriers to save lives now, with a priority on scaling up support to countries in sub-Saharan Africa,” USAID said in a statement.

It wrote, “Global VAX brings together a whole-of-government effort, through which the United States has already committed more than $1.3 billion for vaccine readiness. Today Administrator Power announced an additional $400 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, generously provided by the U.S. Congress, to further augment this work.  Global VAX includes bolstering cold chain supply and logistics, service delivery, vaccine confidence and demand, human resources, data and analytics, local planning, and vaccine safety and effectiveness.”. 

With today’s announcement, of which $315 million will support vaccine readiness programs, the United States has committed more than $1.6 billion in funding to help get shots into arms around the world.

“This work is already paying dividends, but there is more to be done. The emergence of COVID-19 hotspots and variants including Delta and Omicron further underscore the importance of our global fight. Vaccinating the world is the best way to prevent future variants that could threaten the health of Americans and undermine our economic recovery. As more vaccine supply flows to low and middle income countries, the United States and other donors must redouble efforts to help countries efficiently and effectively receive, distribute, and administer doses,” USAID added.

It said the effort also calls on all countries to step up to take new actions to enhance access to global COVID-19 vaccines, identify local barriers to vaccination, and move more swiftly to overcome them in real time. It will require countries to work together to better leverage existing development and public health platforms.

The announcement builds on the United States’ unprecedented effort to vaccinate the world and includes:

  • $315 million to support vaccine delivery and get shots in arms in low and middle income countries.
    This investment will support country-specific needs to ramp up vaccination rates and get more shots in arms. These activities include investing in cold chain and supply logistics to safely store and deliver vaccines; supporting national vaccination campaigns; launching mobile vaccination sites for hard-to-reach and rural populations; assisting countries in vaccine policy-making and planning for strategic health care worker and resource deployment; and supporting the development of health information systems to better evaluate vaccine distribution equity and monitor vaccine safety. 
  • $10 million to support in-country vaccine manufacturing.
    This investment will support countries poised to produce vaccines themselves to help them build regulatory capacity, transfer “know-how” to train emerging manufacturers, and provide strategic planning and other assistance. This will enable countries to boost vaccine manufacturing locally, which not only diversifies international production, but also has the potential to drive new investments in local economies and create jobs. This investment strategically complements the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation’s investments to scale regional manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • $75 million for additional support for USAID’s Rapid Response Surge Support.
    USAID’s Rapid Response Surge Support delivers life-saving resources to COVID-19 hotspots, or areas experiencing surges in cases. This investment will help strengthen oxygen market systems to improve reliable oxygen production and delivery—often the most critical and in-demand resource needed in communities experiencing COVID-19 surges. 

To date, the U.S. Government has responded in more than 120 countries to assist in the fight against COVID-19. With the announcement of Global VAX, the United States will accelerate its efforts to vaccinate the world and save lives. 

In September, President Biden called on global leaders during the first Global COVID-19 summit to meet a set of common targets to vaccinate the world, save lives now, and build back better health systems and security—including the goal of getting shots into arms for everyone, everywhere. The United States, working with partners and multilateral organizations, will host a second COVID-19 summit aimed at accountability and new actions by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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