USAID Acting Administrator Gloria Steele’s Closing Remarks at the Launch of COVAX Investment Opportunity

Speeches Shim

Thursday, April 15, 2021

April 15, 2021

ACTING ADMINISTRATOR STEELE: On behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration, I am honored to recognize this important moment and the commitments made here today to accelerate equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines globally. Thank you Professor Barosso, Dr. Berkley, and to all of the distinguished guests for joining us here today.

The rapid spread of COVID-19 and its emerging variants demonstrates that no nation can act alone in a global pandemic. Vaccinating as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, is the only way to reduce the tragic loss of life, end the pandemic, and move us toward economic and social recovery.

However, as many have emphasized today, we must root our efforts in equity in order to achieve success. Multilateral cooperation, through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment, and more broadly within the ACT Accelerator, is key to ensuring that people everywhere receive safe and effective vaccines against a virus that knows no bounds.

I am proud that the initial U.S. contribution of $2 billion to COVAX this year—with another $2 billion planned next year—has helped to galvanize the important commitments made today, and will continue to do so over the coming months. Through partnership and support to the ACT Accelerator, the U.S. Government is also helping to expand global access to COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics.

I would like to thank the donors and partners who are stepping up when the world needs our collective support the most. Just today, we have secured more than $300 million in new funding and commitments to share doses through COVAX. Only by tackling this pandemic together will we ultimately succeed.

We must also remember that vaccines do not deliver themselves. It is critical that we support countries to administer vaccinations to everyone. That’s why the United States is also helping countries to prepare and deploy vaccines to people at highest risk and with the greatest need, including refugees and people who are displaced. We are supporting broader country readiness for vaccine distribution, ranging from logistics and support for cold chains, to community engagement that builds confidence and trust in vaccines.

Thank you, again, to Gavi and its partners for your collaboration. And thank you to all of you for your commitment to the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities around the world.

The U.S. Government also extends our gratitude to the Government of Japan for its leadership as the host of this summer’s Gavi COVAX AMC Summit. Through our joint efforts in the months to come, we look forward to overcoming this pandemic and building back a world that is even better prepared for future outbreaks.

Thank you.

Last updated: September 22, 2021

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