G7 Biden
President Joe Biden speaks about his administration's global COVID-19 vaccination efforts ahead of the G-7 summit, Thursday, June 10, 2021, in St. Ives, England. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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Biden calls on world leaders to join U.S. in sharing coronavirus vaccines

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By ZEKE MILLER, AAMER MADHANI and JONATHAN LEMIRE

U.S. President Joe Biden urged global leaders Thursday to join him in sharing coronavirus vaccines with struggling nations around the world after he promised the U.S. would donate 500 million doses to help speed the pandemic’s end and bolster the strategic position of the world's wealthiest democracies.

Speaking in England before a summit of the Group of Seven world leaders, Biden announced the U.S. commitment to vaccine sharing, which comes on top of 80 million doses he has already pledged by the end of the month. He argued it was in both America's interests and the world's to make vaccination widely and speedily available everywhere.

“We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners," Biden said. He added that on Friday the G7 nations would join the U.S. in outlining their vaccine donation commitments.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote in The Times of London newspaper that it was now time for wealthy countries to “shoulder their responsibilities” and “vaccinate the world.” His country has yet to send any doses abroad or announce a solid plan to share vaccines. Johnson indicated Britain had millions of doses in surplus stocks.

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the U.S. commitment and said Europe should do the same.

“I think the European Union needs to have at least the same level of ambition as the United States” and be able to make a similar announcement, he said at a news conference.

Biden said the U.S. was sharing its doses “with no strings attached” or “pressure for favors.”

“We’re doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic, and that’s it,” he said.

Biden had faced mounting pressure to outline his global vaccine sharing plan, especially as inequities in supply around the world have become more pronounced and the demand for shots in the U.S. has dropped precipitously in recent weeks.

“In times of trouble, Americans reach out to offer help,” Biden said, adding that the U.S. doses would “supercharge” the global vaccination campaign. "Our values call on us to do everything that we can to vaccinate the world against COVID-19.″

The U.S. commitment is to buy and donate 500 million Pfizer doses for distribution through the global COVAX alliance to 92 lower-income countries and the African Union, bringing the first steady supply of mRNA vaccine to the countries that need it most. A price tag for the 500 million doses was not released, but the U.S. is now set to be COVAX's largest vaccine donor in addition to its single largest funder with a $4 billion commitment.

The global alliance has thus far distributed just 81 million doses and parts of the world, particularly in Africa, remain vaccine deserts. White House officials hope the ramped-up distribution program can be the latest example of a theme Biden plans to hit frequently during his week in Europe: that Western democracies, and not rising authoritarian states, can deliver the most good for the world.

White House officials said the 500 million vaccines will be shipped starting in August, with the goal of distributing 200 million by the end of the year. The remaining 300 million doses would be shipped in the first half of 2022.

After leading the world in new cases and deaths over much of the last year, the rapid vaccination program in the U.S. now positions it among the leaders of the global recovery. Nearly 64% of adults in the U.S. have received at least one vaccine dose and the average numbers of new positive cases and deaths in the U.S. are lower now than at any point since the earliest days of the pandemic.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development last week projected that the U.S. economy would grow at a rate of 6.9% this year, making it one of the few nations for which forecasts are rosier now than before the pandemic.

U.S. officials hope the summit will conclude with a communique showing a commitment from the G-7 countries and nations invited to participate to do more to help vaccinate the world and support public health globally.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Wednesday that G7 leaders are “converging” around the idea that vaccine supply can be increased in several ways, including by countries sharing more of their own doses, helping to increase global manufacturing capacity and doing more across the “chain of custody” from when the vaccine is produced to when it is injected into someone in the developing world.

Biden harked back to the Detroit-area workers who 80 years ago built tanks and planes “that helped defeat the threat of global fascism in World War II.”

“They built what became known as the arsenal of democracy,” Biden said. “Now a new generation of American men and women, working with today’s latest technology, is going to build a new arsenal to defeat the current enemy of world peace, health and stability: COVID-19.”

He noted that Pfizer's plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is not far from Detroit.

Last week, the White House unveiled plans to donate an initial allotment of 25 million doses of surplus vaccine overseas, mostly through the United Nations-backed COVAX program, promising infusions for South and Central America, Asia, Africa and others.

Officials say a quarter of that excess will be kept in reserve for emergencies and for the U.S. to share directly with allies and partners, including South Korea, Taiwan and Ukraine.

China and Russia have shared, with varying success, their domestically produced vaccines with some needy countries, often with hidden strings attached. Sullivan said Biden “does want to show — rallying the rest of the world’s democracies — that democracies are the countries that can best deliver solutions for people everywhere.”

The U.S.-produced mRNA vaccines have also proven to be more effective against both the original strain and more dangerous variants of COVID-19 than the more conventional vaccines produced by China and Russia. Some countries that have had success in deploying those conventional vaccines have nonetheless seen cases spike.

Biden’s decision to purchase the doses, officials said, was meant to keep them from getting locked up by richer nations that have the means to enter into purchasing agreements directly with manufacturers. Just last month, the European Commission signed an agreement to purchase as many as 1.8 billion Pfizer doses in the next two years, a significant share of the company’s upcoming production — though the bloc reserved the right to donate some of its doses to COVAX.

Global public health groups have been aiming to use the G-7 meetings to press wealthier democracies to do more to share vaccines with the world. Biden's plans drew immediate praise.

Tom Hart, acting CEO at The ONE Campaign, a nonprofit that seeks to end poverty, said Biden’s announcement was “the kind of bold leadership that is needed to end this global pandemic.”

“We urge other G-7 countries to follow the U.S.’ example and donate more doses to COVAX,” he added. “If there was ever a time for global ambition and action to end the pandemic, it’s now.”

Others have called on the U.S. to do even more.

“Charity is not going to win the war against the coronavirus,” said Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America’s vaccine lead. “At the current rate of vaccinations, it would take low-income countries 57 years to reach the same level of protection as those in G7 countries. That’s not only morally wrong, it’s self-defeating given the risk posed by coronavirus mutations.”

Biden last month broke with European allies to endorse waiving intellectual property rules at the World Trade Organization to promote vaccine production and equity. But many in his own administration acknowledge that the restrictions were not the driving cause of the global vaccine shortage, which has more to do with limited manufacturing capacity and shortages of delicate raw materials.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


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As usual, our “conservative” posters aren’t telling the entire story, but instead trying to view the world without nuance.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usatoday.com/amp/4254921001

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Biden said the U.S. was sharing its doses “with no strings attached” or “pressure for favors.”

“We’re doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic, and that’s it,” he said.

What a refreshing change.

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This will become an annual or even ongoing thing

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00396-2

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Biden announced the U.S. commitment to vaccine sharing, which comes on top of 80 million doses he has already pledged by the end of the month.

THIS is the America I remember! 

We stormed the beaches in 1944, landed a man on the moon in 1969. 

Thank you President Biden for helping America be a world citizen again.

You're the man, Joe. Thanks for having compassion and realizing we are all in this together.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

America leading the way end a world crisis Made in China.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

“We’re doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic, and that’s it,” he said.

Right, of course you are. Not because you want to catch up to China and Russia in the vaccine diplomacy race.

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Who could possibly be against a democracy leading the way in this fight instead of dictatorships? Unless you were from such a country (especially from the one responsible for creating this mess) and you were jealous. Otherwise, it's like cheering for the opposing teams who have their own hidden and more sinister agendas.

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Who could possibly be against a democracy leading the way in this fight instead of dictatorships?

Trolls

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Biden calls on world leaders to join U.S. in sharing coronavirus vaccines

Finally, the U.S. has answered the calls of China and Russia to join in sharing coronavirus vaccines.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Finally, the U.S. has answered the calls of China and Russia to join in sharing coronavirus vaccines.

Yep, last year Trump didn't want to join the COVAX programme

The US is just in time too - China and Russia are struggling to deliver on their promises for world demand on vaccines. Russia made sales deals (Russia is charging for vaccines) for 630 million, but so far has delivered only 15 million. Promises are one thing - meeting that manufacturing capacity is another.

"Iran Official Blames Chinese, Russian Covid Vaccine Firms For Shortages"

https://iranintl.com/en/iran-in-brief/iran-official-blames-chinese-russian-covid-vaccine-firms-shortages

Alireza Naji, head of the Virology Research Center and member of Covid Scientific Committee told the government Iran Daily that part of the shortage is due to lack of delivery from Chinese and Russian companies that produce Sinopharm and Sputnik vaccines. Naji accused these companies of not honoring their commitments.

in early January Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banned the purchase of American and British vaccines. Iran resorted to importing from China and Russia, but the total quantity delivered so far is around three million.

Naji said that Sinopharm was scheduled to deliver three million additional doses but has failed to do so. He added that Russia’s vaccine production is slow and other countries that have ordered much larger quantities are also waiting.

A potential problem will emerge if additional supplies do not arrive for those who have received the first dose of the Chinese vaccine, which has a maximum six-week window for the second dose.

"Russia Struggles to Meet Demand for Its Covid-19 Vaccine - Moscow’s Sputnik V shot offered hope as coronavirus cases surged in developing world, but shipments have been hit by regulatory, production problems"

https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-struggles-to-meet-demand-for-its-covid-19-vaccine-11620993601

More than 60 countries have approved the Sputnik V shot and Moscow has struck deals to sell more than 630 million doses, according to analytics company Airfinity, which tracks global vaccine distribution.

But Russia is late on some deliveries and analysts tracking the rollout say it lacks global production capacity to fill the orders. So far, it has delivered only about 15 million doses.

Mexican and Argentine authorities have reported delays in shipments of the vaccine’s second dose, which takes longer to produce, leaving them unable to complete the full vaccination cycle in some cases.

“While Russia has been quite successful in selling it, they are now facing significant challenges in following up with doses,” said Andrea Taylor, assistant director of programs at Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center. “What we need to see is manufacturing that can match the orders and approvals from stringent regulators like the EMA or the WHO.”

Moscow has announced manufacturing deals with factories in China, South Korea and Turkey, among others, though these are yet to start mass production. Only Kazakhstan and Belarus have been churning out Sputnik V abroad, to the tune of 1.8 million and 300,000 doses, respectively, according to Airfinity, leaving Russia with insufficient global manufacturing capacity to meet demand.

It is difficult to produce and differs from other, similar, vaccines, however.

Sputnik V uses a genetically altered form of a common virus, known as adenovirus, as a vehicle for genetic material from the coronavirus. The vaccine’s ingredients are then grown in so-called bioreactors of some 2,000 liters where small changes in variables like temperature, air pressure or pH levels affect the yield.

Unlike other adenovirus-based vaccines like AstraZeneca, Sputnik V uses a different adenovirus for the second shot, which takes longer to grow, public health and vaccine experts said. Getting foreign manufacturers up to speed with the process takes additional time.

“The manufacturing methods for adenovirus vector vaccines are quite specific. This requires a certain level of expertise by manufacturers and basically makes the scaling up of the production more challenging,” said Elena Subbotina, manager at global healthcare consulting firm CBPartners.

Mexican authorities on Monday reported delays of second-dose shipments, leaving Mexico unable to finish the full vaccination cycle for many recipients.

Hugo Lopez-Gatell, Mexico’s assistant health secretary, said Monday that the quantities of first and second doses Russia was making “got out of sync.”

In Argentina, authorities have received more than five million doses of the first component of the vaccine and around one million doses of the second component, leading the government to delay the second shot by up to 90 days.

“It currently looks unlikely that Russia will be able to deliver on their agreements anytime soon,” said Matt Linley, senior analyst at Airfinity.

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