Biden to convene virtual summit for more equitable vaccine access

Sep 18, 2021 – 09:57 KYODO NEWS

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Joe Biden will convene a virtual meeting of world leaders next Wednesday to enhance efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic such as through equitable access to vaccines, the White House said.

At the so-called COVID-19 summit, which is to take place on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly, Biden is expected to call on countries around the world to commit to vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population by next September, U.S. media have reported.

“We will be asking participants to commit to a higher level of ambition” in areas including improving access to vaccines and getting shots in arms, as well as making tests, therapeutics and personal protective equipment more available, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement released Friday.

The World Health Organization has been expressing its disappointment over the unequal access to COVID vaccines.

“Only 20 percent of people in low- and lower-middle-income countries have received a first dose of vaccine compared to 80 percent in high- and upper-middle-income countries,” the U.N. organization said in a statement issued earlier this month.

In the United States, more than 76 percent of adults have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cr. KYODO NEWS