A global partnership’s ‘impressive’ progress combating COVID-19

International partners have made “significant headway” in ending the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthening global health security, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said February 8 at the Fourth COVID-19 Global Action Plan Ministerial.

Nearly 64% of people worldwide have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 90% of health care workers are fully vaccinated against the disease. And countries have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the pandemic fund to strengthen future pandemic preparedness and response in coordination with the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The United States and international partners launched the COVID-19 Global Action Plan (GAP) in February 2022 to end the pandemic’s acute phase and strengthen global health security. At the time, less than 11% of people in low-income countries had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The GAP convened 33 countries, the African Union, the European Union and the WHO to increase vaccinations and save lives. The effort also sought to strengthen essential supply chains for health-related items, address information gaps, support health care workers, improve access to testing and treatment, and strengthen the institutions working on global health security.

“Our progress has been impressive and, in some cases, remarkable,” Blinken said.

Man in mask preparing syringe of vaccine (© Jorge Castellanos/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)
A health worker in La Parada, Colombia, prepares a COVID-19 vaccine dose in March 2022. (© Jorge Castellanos/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

At the February 8 ministerial, Blinken and ministers from GAP member nations highlighted progress on the plan’s priorities, while cautioning that the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over. Through the action plan, partners have:

  • Increased access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests kits through improved coordination and innovations in cold-chain storage.
  • Combated misinformation and disinformation by delivering accurate information in local communities.
  • Strengthened global health security by working to improve early warning systems, speeding up production of vaccines and test kits, and increasing financing for pandemic preparedness.

International partners will continue to apply lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic to improve global health, Blinken said. “Together, we’re building a world better prepared to prevent, detect, and respond to the next pandemic and to do so quickly, effectively, and equitably,” he added.