OAS Holds Special Session on The Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines

Bradley A. Freden, Interim Permanent Representative of the United States, addresses the OAS Permanent Council Special Session on equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution, July 21, 2021.

Remarks by
Bradley A. Freden
Interim Permanent Representative of the United States
OAS Permanent Council
July 21, 2021

Good afternoon.  We would like to thank Colombia for requesting this special meeting and express our appreciation for the panelist presentations. 

 To follow up on the resolution concerning equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, my delegation would like to provide a brief update on U.S. efforts in the COVID-19 response.   

 Equitable global distribution of safe and effective vaccines is the only way to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.  That’s why in February, President Biden announced a $2 billion contribution to support COVAX. 

 As of July 16, 15 countries in the Western Hemisphere have received over 24 million vaccine doses from the United States directly, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. 

The United States is the largest contributor to COVAX, which has provided vaccines to Caribbean countries including Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.   

 We will continue to donate additional vaccine doses globally across the coming months as supply becomes available, work with U.S. vaccine manufacturers to increase vaccine supply for the rest of the world, and work with partners to expand global vaccine production and manufacturing capacity to beat this pandemic, and prepare to respond to future threats.  

Importantly, our shots don’t come with strings attached.  We are sharing vaccines with the world and leading in a global vaccine strategy because it’s the right thing to do:  the right thing morally, the right thing from a global public health perspective, and the right thing for our collective security and well-being. 

The United States will also continue to take an active role in responding to COVID-19 by providing training for front-line health care workers; providing assistance to address second order impacts; and advancing research and development for treatments, tests, and vaccines. 

To quote President Biden, “The United States will be the world’s arsenal of vaccines in our shared fight against this virus.” The United States has committed to do all we can to build a world that is safer and more secure against the threat of infectious disease. 

Again, thank you for the opportunity to address you today and to provide an update on this important issue.