Agency: President Biden on Wednesday called on leaders, pharmaceutical executives and civil society organizations to forge a global plan to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a virtual Covid-19 summit organized with the U.N., Biden cited two urgent goals: vaccinating the world, and solving an oxygen-supply crisis. “We’re not going to solve this crisis with half measures or middle-of-the-road ambitions — we need to go big,” the president said. “It’s an all-hands-on-deck crisis.”
Many of the leaders at the summit sent prerecorded videos, so a debate and an immediate consensus on a plan were unlikely. Pfizer announced a deal on Wednesday with the Biden administration to sell 500 million doses to the U.S. that will be donated to nations lacking the shots.
Earlier this week, the chief scientist of the World Health Organization pleaded with nations to work together to distribute vaccines and share excess supplies. “A country-by-country approach, a nationalistic approach, is not going to get us out of this pandemic,” Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said.
Vaccine inequality: Less than 10 percent of the population of poor nations — and less than 4 percent of the African population — has been fully vaccinated against Covid. Covax, the international vaccine initiative, is behind schedule on delivering shots to the low- and middle-income nations that need them most.