Sep 22, 2021
Joe Biden Announces U.S. To Donate 500 Million COVID Vaccine Doses: Speech Transcript
President Joe Biden announced that the United States bought 500 million extra COVID-19 vaccine doses to be donated to low and middle income countries. Read the transcript of the speech briefing here.
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Joe Biden: (00:01)
Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us today. As I said yesterday at the United Nations, nothing is more urgent than all of us working together to defeat COVID-19. And that the world is going to be much better prepared for future pandemics, we have to do both. This summit is about supercharging efforts in three key areas, vaccinating the world by dramatically ramping up vaccine production, donations, delivery and administering the vaccine, which is a logistical challenge, addressing the oxygen crisis in many hospitals around the world, making other treatments more accessible and increasing the availability of public health tools like masks and tests, and building back better so that our global health security infrastructure is more resilient than it is today.
Joe Biden: (00:58)
We’ve all suffered. The United States has lost more than 670,000 of our fellow Americans. Worldwide the death toll is above 4.5 million people, 4.5 million people, and this a global tragedy. And we were not going to solve this crisis with half measures or middle of the road ambitions. We need to go big and we need to do our part, governments, the private sector, civil society, leaders, philanthropist. This is an all hands on deck crisis. And the good news is we know how to beat this pandemic, vaccines, public health measures and collective action. During the first eight months of my presidency, we have worked aggressively to get Americans and the world vaccinated. As President of the United States. My first responsibility is to protect the American people, and I’m proud that we’ve gone from two million America’s being fully vaccinated when I took office in January 20th to 182 million and counting today in America. But we also know that to beat the pandemic care, we need to beat it everywhere. And I made, and I’m keeping the promise that America will become the arsenal of vaccines as we’re the arsenal for democracy during World War II. We’ve already shipped nearly 160 million doses to 100 countries, more than every other country has donated combined. America’s donations of a half a billion Pfizer vaccines through COVAX that I’ve announced before the G7 summit in June have already begun to ship.
Joe Biden: (02:39)
Today, I’m announcing another historic commitment. The United States is buying another half billion doses of Pfizer to donate to low and middle income countries around the world. This is another half billion doses that will all be shipped by this time next year, and it brings our total commitment of donated vaccines to over 1.1 billion vaccines to be donated. Put another way, for every one shot we’ve administered to date in America we have now committed to do three shots to the rest of the world. I want to thank Pfizer and its CEO and chairman Albert, Albert’s been a good friend and had been helpful, they’ve been and continue to be partners in the leader in this fight. And the United States is leading the world on vaccination donations, as we’re doing that we need other high income countries to deliver on their own ambitious vaccine donations and pledges.
Joe Biden: (03:39)
That’s why today we’re launching the EU-US vaccine partnership to work more closely together and with our partners in expanding global vaccinations. And as we do so we should unite around the world on a few principles. That we commit to donating, not selling, donating, not selling doses to low and lower income countries and that their donations come with no political strings attached. And then we support COVAX as the main distributor for sharing WHO approved vaccines. And then we fight vaccine this information and exercise transparency to build vital public trust in these saving tools. It’s also important that we are working toward common goals and targets so that we can measure our progress and hold ourselves and each other accountable. Secretary of State Blinken will be convening foreign ministers later this year to check on our collective progress. And I propose that we come together for a second high level virtual summit in the first quarter of 2022 to help gauge our progress and keep our efforts fully aligned.
Joe Biden: (04:53)
Another goal is dramatically boosting global and regional vaccine manufacturing capacity. Enhancing transparency, so that vaccine production and distribution is as predictable and coordinated. In fact, an important part of the reason the United States is able to make these big historic donations is because we’ve worked with the US vaccine manufacturers to accelerate a manufacturing rate and production. And now we’re working quickly to scale up vaccine manufacturing in other countries around the world so they can manufacture as well. We’re working with partner nations, pharmaceutical companies, and other manufacturers to increase their own capacity and capability to produce and manufacture safe and highly effective vaccines in their own countries. For example, our quad partnership with India, Japan and Australia is on track to help produce at least 1 billion vaccine doses in India to boost the global supply by the end of 2022. And we’re providing financing and helping you strengthen manufacturing in South Africa and produce more than 500 million doses of J&J in Africa for Africa next year.
Joe Biden: (06:12)
Next, we also know from experience that getting those vaccines in the people’s arms may be the hardest logistical challenge we’ve faced. That’s why we need to significantly step up our investment in helping countries get shots in arms. Today, the United States is also announcing that we’re providing an additional $370 million to support administering these shots and delivery globally. And we will be providing more than $380 million to assist in the Global Vaccine Alliance, GAVI, to further facilitate vaccine distribution and regions with the greatest need.
Joe Biden: (06:55)
And while vaccinating the world is the ultimate solution to COVID-19, we know that we have to act to save lives now. That’s why the United States have provided nearly $1.4 billion to reduce COVID-19 deaths and mitigate transmission through bulk oxygen support, expanded testing, and strengthening healthcare systems and more.
Joe Biden: (07:19)
And we’re going to help all of us build back better, by supporting the establishment of financial mechanism for global health security, to simply state it, to prepare for the next pandemic, because there will be a next time, we all know that. Vice-President Harris will be speaking more on this issue later today.
Joe Biden: (07:39)
And finally, I want to acknowledge the leaders from the private sector, philanthropy and civil society who are here today. Governments can do a lot, but we can not do everything on our own. We’ve asked our non-governmental partners to take up the call for new actions, that it will solve the core challenge to making vaccines available to everyone everywhere, solving the oxygen availability crisis, financing health security, and more. And I’m grateful, I’m grateful for their leadership.
Joe Biden: (08:12)
And let me close with what I made clear yesterday at the UN, we can do this. This is within our capacity. We know what needs to be done, we just have to make the choice to do it. Now, the leaders on the screen that I see here today, I know they’ve made that choice and I think they know we can do this. And I promise you, the United States will continue to lead, we’ll continue to drive historic commitments in vaccine donations, 1.1 billion and counting, so we can defeat COVID-19 together. And we’ll continue to invest in creating a future of true global health security for all people. That is a big, big goal we have, we should have.
Joe Biden: (08:57)
We’re going to lead with the power of our example and we’re not going to stop, but the only way to get this done is for everyone, everywhere, is for all of us to step up. Which I’m confident you will. And now I like to turn this over to Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, United Nations. And I want to thank everybody on the screen I can see here without going to each one of you for all you’ve done, continue to do. I think you all know we can do this. We can do this. We have to do this. So thank you. Thank you all.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield: (09:32)
Thank you, Mr. President, and let me thank you all for joining us today to participate in the COVID 19 summit. As we collectively work to end this pandemic. This administration is grateful to be working alongside you. And let me start by echoing what the President made clear, because this pandemic is global, none of us is safe until everyone is safe. Only a truly global response can meet and defeat this threat. After all the world has learned the hard way that global health isn’t only about viruses and disease, it touches every aspect of life itself. Economies have collapsed, gender-based violence has spiked, millions of children have lost valuable education time and many, particularly girls, may never return to school. The pandemic has disrupted people’s lives and livelihoods in ways that will take us years, maybe even decades to fully comprehend. We have to come together to vaccinate the world, stop this pandemic and build a global ecosystem that is well-equipped to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks so we’re ready for the next pandemic. That is what this summit is all about.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield: (11:00)
Gathered here we have the people, organizations and knowledge necessary to put COVID in the past. So let’s share our experiences, our expertise, our best practices. Let’s bring our funding and our technology to bear, and let’s work together through the WHO, COVAX, and the United Nations to vaccinate the world and make 2022 the year we learned that public health is absolutely essential to global security and safety. To that end, I’ll start by handing the floor over to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, who can speak to the importance of vaccinating the world and the role that United Nations and multi-lateralism can play in stepping out this pandemic. Secretary General, over to you.