The United States is working with the international community to respond to COVID-19 and prevent future pandemics.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken told a virtual meeting of the U.N. Security Council on February 17 that the United States is committed to working with global partners to expand vaccine manufacturing and access worldwide, including for marginalized populations.
“As President Biden has made clear, the United States will work as a partner to address global challenges,” Blinken said. “This pandemic is one of those challenges. And it gives us an opportunity, not only to get through the current crisis, but also to become more prepared and more resilient for the future.”
Blinken commended the World Health Organization’s role in leading the global fight against COVID-19 and said the United States will work with international partners to strengthen and reform the organization. The United States intends to pay over $200 million in assessed and current obligations to the WHO by the end of the month, he added.
Watch @SecBlinken’s virtual remarks at the @UN Security Council VTC on Maintenance of international peace and security: Implementation of Resolution 2532 (2020), on the cessation of hostilities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. pic.twitter.com/Kl2wRwpBHc
— Department of State (@StateDept) February 17, 2021
In January, President Biden directed the U.S. government to begin supporting the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX), an international effort to ensure equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines and fairly distribute 2 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021.
The United States plans to provide significant financial support to COVAX through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Blinken said. In 2020, the United States announced a $1.16 billion contribution to support Gavi’s global immunization efforts through September 2023.
He added that the United States supports strengthening the global health system to prevent future pandemics, through such efforts as:
- Creating a disease warning system to help countries save lives by rapidly responding to diseases with testing, tracing and personal protective equipment.
- Developing a sustainable financing system to support global health security.
- Tackling the secondary impacts of the pandemic, such as gender inequality.
“Going forward, all countries should participate in a transparent and robust process for preventing and responding to health emergencies, so the world learns as much as possible as soon as possible,” Blinken said.
The United States is already the single largest contributor to the international response to COVID-19, Blinken said. The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have already announced more than $1.6 billion in emergency economic, health and humanitarian aid to fight the disease worldwide.
The United States has provided more than $140 billion in global health assistance over the last two decades.
“Every country needs to do its part and contribute to the COVID-19 response,” Blinken said.