Biden pledges $4 billion for COVAX vaccinations program

Canada is pledging another $75 million to an international vaccine-sharing partnership

Last month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also raised with Biden the prospect of Canada getting the vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, according to a senior Canadian government official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation.

USA officials, speaking to journalists on condition of anonymity ahead of the call, said that President Joe Biden would announce a total of $4 billion in funding for COVAX but that the country did not plan to share any of its doses with other nations until its domestic vaccination needs were met.

Trump had terminated USA funding for the WHO - as its biggest contributor - in the middle of the deadliest pandemic to hit the world in more than 100 years.

Johnson & Johnson said on Friday (Feb 19) it had submitted data to the World Health Organisation for emergency-use listing of its Covid-19 vaccine, which would allow for wider access of the one-dose shot.

Max Lawson, Oxfam Head of Inequality Policy, said: "While some of those attending the G7 have made welcome steps to increase the supply of vaccines to poor countries, these remain insufficient when compared to the scale of the Covid-19 threat".

"The United States is really excited to be making our first contribution to COVAX", said the official. It has also purchased doses of the still-to-be-authorized Johnson & Johnson product, as well as other vaccines still in development.

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Asked about Macron's comments and the timeline on donations, another official said, "There are a lot of options on the table, but I don't think we should get locked down in what we might do once the USA population is vaccinated".

On Friday, Covax also announced that it had signed an agreement for 1 billion doses of another vaccine in development, the Novavax jab.

He said he will share surplus vaccines with poorer nations, encourage other G7 nations to do the same, and call for help to develop vaccines faster. As leaders of the G7 we must say today: never again.

The other side: The White House said on Thursday's briefing call that the administration planned to turn to donations only after all USA demand was met.

Other wealthy nations have also begun reserving large orders of vaccines, leaving poorer nations to rely on the COVAX initiative for their populations - or on countries such as China, India and Russian Federation, who have begun directly donating their state-produced vaccines to other nations. "You know, the President is engaged with a range of leaders around the world, conveying how he wants to return the United States to have a central seat on the world stage, and we're working to do that through a range of actions".

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