Biden urges world leaders to share vaccines
ST IVES, England (AP):
President Joe Biden urged global leaders on Thursday to join him in sharing coronavirus vaccines with struggling nations around the world, after he promised the US would donate 500 million doses to help speed up 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 US commitment to vaccine sharing, which comes on top of 80 million doses he has already pledged by the end of the month. He argued that 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 G-7 nations would join the US 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 that Britain had millions of doses in surplus stocks.
French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the US 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 US was sharing its doses “with no strings attached” or “pressure for favours”.
“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 US has dropped precipitously in recent weeks.
“In times of trouble, Americans reach out to offer help,” Biden said, adding that the US 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.″