Biden plunges into debate over access to COVID-19 vaccines

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In a significant step forward for the African region, national deployment and vaccination plans for COVID-19 vaccines from 35 low-income African countries eligible for free vaccines from the COVAX Facility have been accepted by an independent regional review committee.

Pakistan, which has recorded more than 550,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 12,000 deaths, is still largely reliant on the GAVI/WHO COVAX initiative, which aims to supply COVID-19 vaccines to poorer nations.

The remaining $2 billion will be contributed over the next two years, including another $500 million when other donor pledges are fulfilled and initial doses are delivered. The money has already been appropriated by Congress.

Biden will make the announcement at a virtual meeting Friday of G7 leaders where the global pandemic response is expected to be the focus of the gathering.

Blinken's efforts are a U-turn from former United States president Donald Trump's administration, who accused Beijing and the WHO of covering up the origins of COVID-19 and withdrew funding from the health organisation.

Mr Trump accused the United Nations-based agency of covering up China's mistakes in handling the virus at the start of the public health crisis.

New Zealand reports three new COVID-19 local cases, first since January
More testing is being done to ascertain what strain this is, and whether there's a match to any other case in New Zealand. Ardern and Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield are fronting a 7pm press conference.

The move highlights Biden's different approach to global affairs after former President Donald Trump withdrew from the World Health Organization and signed an executive order prioritizing vaccines for Americans before helping other countries.

The U. S.is committed to working through COVAX to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines and funding globally, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday. S. refused to take part in the initiative under Trump and that there are growing calls for the Biden administration to distribute some U.

The global aid organization UNICEF has said countries that have vaccinated their own health workers and populations at highest risk of severe disease should share vaccine doses with other countries so they can do the same.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres also slammed in his speech the "wildly uneven and fair" rollout of COVID-19 jabs, adding 10 nations accounted for 75 percent of all vaccines.

Canada has been getting all its Pfizer doses from a company facility in Puurs, Belgium, and has experienced disruptions in supply. "Thanks to secured avenues of supply through manufacturer deals and dose-sharing, clarity on global and regional supply forecasts, additional much-needed funding, and countries' hard work to ensure readiness - the world now has its clearest pathway yet to ending the acute stage of this pandemic, globally." said Thabani Maphosa, Managing Director, Country Programmes, GAVI.

The COVAX program to vaccinate the poorer countries around the world is expected to cost $15 billion worldwide, $4 billion of which will come from the USA over the next few years, including $500 million right away, per the report.

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