Bradley A. Freden
Interim Permanent Representative of the United States
OAS Permanent Council
February 24, 2021
Madam Chair, Thank you for the opportunity to speak once more today.
In connection with 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.
To save lives and curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the international community must work together to ensure that global COVID-19 response activities, including global vaccine access initiatives like COVAX, are quickly and fully funded and supported.
Global cooperation is crucial to meet the threats of our time. President Biden is committed to working with our partners on combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, a top national security priority.
On February 19, the President announced an initial $2 billion contribution to Gavi, which will support the COVAX Facility, to vaccinate people around the world.
We will provide another $2 billion later, and we want to work with other nations to expand support for COVAX and scale up vaccine manufacturing, supplies, and distribution.
The United States will also continue to take an active role in responding to COVID-19, including supporting global vaccine distribution; training for front line health care workers; assistance to address second-order impacts; and research and development for treatments, tests, and vaccines.
In addition, the United States will also continue to advocate for and support the need to ensure vaccine coverage for marginalized and vulnerable populations in humanitarian crises, while responding to humanitarian needs in new and ongoing crises.
We will prioritize global health, including responding to and mitigating the secondary health, humanitarian, and development impacts of COVID-19.
We plan to develop an integrated process that emphasizes multilateral approaches but also works bilaterally and regionally when needed across all our global health, global health security, and humanitarian assistance programs.
We urge OAS Member States to enable all countries to have unhindered, timely access to quality and safe vaccines. We recognize the role of extensive immunization against COVID -19 as a public good for health, in order to bring the pandemic to an end.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to address you today, and to provide an update on this important issue.