Without additional funding, U.S. vaccination programs abroad will be difficult to continue – some programs plan to be phased out next month. However, administration officials working on Covid’s global efforts said they aim to ensure that people in low-income countries have access to Covid-19 injections.

Concerns over the summit arose after U.S. lawmakers failed to approve $ 5 billion in additional funding to fight the global pandemic. Democrats and Republicans are negotiating to include an additional request in the aid package for Ukraine, but it is unclear whether Congress will come to an agreement before the summit.

“Because Congress has acted before, we can urge others to act, and if Congress continues to act, we will continue to push for it,” said another senior administration official.

A significant portion of the $ 5 billion would go to the U.S. International Development Agency to help low-income countries raise vaccination rates above 10 percent. Vaccination rates are lower than in 18 countries, including Niger, South Sudan and Yemen.

Some administration officials insist the U.S. has done more than any country to help with the global vaccination against Covid-19, and that the May 12 summit should trigger similar commitments from other countries. At the first vaccination summit in September, the White House announced an additional 500 million doses of Pfizer worldwide and hundreds of millions of dollars of risk insurance for Gavi, the vaccine alliance, to send doses. The U.S. has so far shipped nearly 530 million doses of the vaccine, according to KFF tracker.

“We must continue to do our part,” said one administration official, noting an earlier U.S. promise to donate more than a billion vaccines. “The summit should reflect that the United States is also working with others to do its part.”

For weeks, it was unclear whether the administration would host the summit at all. The event was originally scheduled for early this spring, but was postponed due to the war in Ukraine and because the administration needed more time to find out if Democrats on Capitol Hill could promote international Covid funding.

After Congress failed to approve $ 5 billion last month, administration officials raised questions about whether it makes sense to move forward, especially if the U.S. had no significant promises to announce, according to a senior administration official and another person. , familiar with the case. Now the White House is in a hurry to end relations with the summit from companies, countries and philanthropists, said one official.

Administration officials acknowledged that the lack of extra money weakens the government’s ability to ask countries to do more to fight the pandemic. Perhaps the administration is promoting earlier committed funding and programmingfor example, through Development Finance Corp. to increase vaccine production. The administration could also lay out the US investment plan for global health Financial Intermediary Fundthe World Bank Fund to help prepare for a pandemic.

The summit is expected to be attended by President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and UN Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield. But two people familiar with the matter said Biden may not appear live, but through recorded video.

Some senior administration officials dismissed the view that Biden’s way of participating – either through recorded video or live speech – mattered, saying the summit was postponed this spring to ensure Biden and Harris could attend.

“We would not have held this summit without the commitment of the president and vice president,” said a senior administration official. “They’re both involved and we’re still working on modalities with ourselves and with our four co-hosts from around the world.”

The exact number of foreign promises has not yet been determined, and the administration has refused to give details of what other countries and organizations have promised to do. – whether it is due to changes in policy or financial commitments – just calling the current list “inspiring”. The United States has asked almost every country in the world for commitment, said one senior administration official.

“Every speaker … speaks because they have made a commitment, right? And there will be several speakers, ”the official said.

There are several commitments on each topic of the summit, the official said. These topics are the same as at last year’s summit – “Vaccine the world”, “Save lives now” and “Build better health security” – although the political goals of these topics have been updated to meet new needs.

However, the updated policy goals did not include moving to vaccination and stimulating 90 percent of vulnerable populations before moving to the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of all countries, a goal for which some global health experts argued.

“We have not created a goal other than 70 [percent]”- said one of the high-ranking officials of the administration, noting that the early vaccination of high-risk groups was part of the US strategy.

According to the World Health Organization, the world’s number of infections and deaths is the lowest since March 2020, making many people around the world feel that the pandemic is over.

U.S. and global health officials warn that this is not the case, especially as the virus continues to evolve and new options could once again overcrowd hospitals and cause far more deaths. But as many governments lifted pandemic-related restrictions, people’s appetites for vaccinations have also weakened. With so many vaccines, the biggest challenge now is helping governments around the world immunize people.

“The summit is a really important opportunity to get committed,” Ted Chaiban, global lead coordinator for the preparation and delivery of Covid vaccines in the Covid-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, told reporters on Thursday. These commitments could be financial or commitments to increase vaccination rates, Chaiban said.

“The summit itself is a way to maintain momentum,” he said.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/09/global-covid-summit-funding-00030868

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