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Biden: Unfair global COVID-19 vaccine access will be addressed

The US President, Joe Biden, has assured world leaders that his administration will act to deal with the uneven COVID-19 vaccinations that prevail in the world where rich countries readily have vaccines available and poorer ones continue to struggle to have access to vaccines.

As of 19 September, the United States, through its coordinated efforts with Gavi and bilateral agreements, has delivered more than 140 million vaccine doses to over 90 countries.

To date, the US has shipped millions of vaccines to over 30 African Union countries, roughly 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere, and to about 20 countries in Southern and Eastern Asia.

Despite these donations by the US, vaccinations in the developing world remain seriously low, requiring urgent action on the part of those who have vaccines in abundance to release some to the world in need of same.

Delivering his first address to the UN General Assembly since becoming President, Biden indicated that the United States will make more donations to the world.

He added that during the Global COVID-19 Summit he will be hosting on Wednesday, he will announce additional vaccine donations the US intends to make to the rest of the world.

“Indeed, today many of our greatest concerns cannot be solved or even addressed through the force of arms. Bombs and bullets cannot defend against COVID-19 or its future variants,” he noted.

“To fight this pandemic, we need a collective act of science and political will. We need to get shots in arms as fast as possible and expand access to oxygen, tests, treatments to save lives around the world,” Biden said.

US vaccine donations
He touted American vaccine sharing efforts, saying they’d provided a “little dose of hope” in communities around the world. He said that the US has contributed more than $15 billion toward global Covid-19 response, shipping “more than 160 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to other countries”.

“This includes 130 million doses from our own supply and the first tranches of a half a billion doses of Pfizer vaccine we purchased to donate through COVAX,” he said.

Biden said that tomorrow at the US-hosted Global Covid-19 Summit, he’ll be announcing additional commitments from the US to fight Covid-19 around the world to “advance the fight against Covid-19 and hold ourselves accountable around specific targets on three key challenges — saving lives now, vaccinating the world, and building back better.”

Bridging the six divides
Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres in his report to the 76th General Assembly, identified six (6) global divides that he says ought to be bridged if the world is to experience the much desire development, peace and prosperity.

The six divides that need to be bridged according Mr Guterres are the peace divide, climate divide, the divide between the rich and the poor, the gender divide, the digital divide and the generational divide.

“With real engagements, we can live up to the promise of a better, more peaceful world that is the driving force of our common agenda. The best way to advance the interest of the world’s common citizens, is by advancing the interest of our common future,” the UN boss said.

“Inter-dependences is the logic of the 21st century and it is the lone star of the United Nations. This is our time, a moment for transformation, the time to reignite multilateralism, an age of possibilities. Let us restore trust, let us inspire hope, let us start right now,” Guterres added.

Akufo-Addo to address UN-GA
Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo will take his turn to contribute to the General Assembly debate for the fifth (5th) time since becoming President of the Republic.

During his address to the virtual edition of the UN General Assembly in September 2020, President Akufo-Addo called on the world’s rich countries to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines once the research for same is completed and vaccines are manufactured.

One year on, the world has manufactured multiple COVID-19 vaccines such as AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, among others.

To this end, President Akufo-Addo, is expected to call on rich countries who are currently holding back vaccines to make them widely available to the rest of the world’s poor who are yet to vaccinate majority of their citizenry.

He is also likely to reiterate his call for the developed world to help bridge the 2.5 trillion dollars needed for the developing world to achieve the seventeen (17) 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As chairman of the regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS), President Akufo-Addo will most likely report on the political situation in Mali and Guinea, as well as seek the support of the UN and other inter-governmental organizations to deal with the situation in the ECOWAS sub-region.

The President will most likely zero in on Ghana’s ongoing efforts aimed at ensuring a full recovery of the economy from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and invite the rest of the world to come and do business in the country.

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