United States President Joe Biden will announce on 19 February a total contribution of $ 4 billion to the Covax facility, a programme backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines around the world, which his predecessor Donald Trump had spurned over what appeared to be a nexus between the UN body and China, the origin of coronavirus.
India is the largest beneficiary of Covax, clinching a deal earlier this month to receive 97.1 million of the 2 billion doses to be distributed under the programme, according to an agreement announced earlier in February.
Covax is a collaboration involving the WHO, the Gavi vaccine alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
Biden will announce the new contribution during a virtual meeting of the G7, senior administration official said.
The first tranche of $ 2 billion will go to Gavi, the White House said in a note. The remaining $ 2 billion will be released over 2021 and 2022. The first lot of $ 500 million will be paid after initial donor pledges are fulfilled and first vaccine doses have been delivered.
“In close cooperation with Gavi, this additional $ 2 billion in funding will serve to expand Covax’s reach,” the White House note said. “We call on our G7 and other partners to work alongside Gavi, to bring in billions more in resources to support global Covid-19 vaccination, and to target urgent vaccine manufacturing, supply, and delivery needs.”
Former US president Donald Trump had kept the US out of this programme as he had fought with the WHO for what he had called partisan support of China’s misleading initial claims and statements about the origins of the coronavirus.
Trump had terminated US funding for the WHO, as its biggest contributor, in the middle of the deadliest pandemic to hit the world in more than 100 years.
It turned out to be a part of a pattern that defined his tenure: the US left Unesco, the Paris Agreement on climate, the Iran nuclear deal, and UN human rights council during his tenure.
On his first day in office, Biden announced that the US would rejoin the Paris Agreement and the WHO.
Biden has since vowed to return the US to the world stage and reclaim its leadership role that was forsaken by Trump as he had sought to pursue an America-first agenda.