US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Sunday urged G20 leaders to step up vaccine-sharing support as the Delta coronavirus variant spreads and countries race to vaccinate as many as possible.
“We are concerned about the Delta variant and other variants that could emerge and threaten recovery. We are a connected global economy; what happens in any part of the world affects all other countries,” Yellen said in Venice, Italy. “We, therefore, recognize the importance of working together to speed the process of vaccination and have the goal of wanting to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population next year.”
Yellen, who was in Venice over the weekend meeting with G20 finance ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss economic recovery, said they discussed how countries to work together to address global challenges, including ending the pandemic through “more equitable vaccine distribution worldwide and more fiscal policy support where feasible.”
“In addition to finance, the international community must do more to fill near-term gaps in planning, coordination and logistics,” she said. “This includes accelerating the equitable delivery and distribution of vaccines, as well as diagnostics and therapeutics and helping low and middle-income nations fight new flare-ups of the virus quickly.”
The comments from Yellen comes as the Biden administration Biden plans to send millions of Covid-19 vaccines to countries in Latin America. President Joe Biden has pledged commitment to play a leading role in ending the coronavirus pandemic across the globe. Biden has allocated 80 million vaccines to countries worldwide and has also pledged to donate an additional 500 million Pfizer doses.
Distributing vaccines globally has been a complex undertaking for the Biden administration. White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients and national security adviser Jake Sullivan have worked with multiple federal agencies, including the Defense Department and State Department, to coordinate the process and maintain that the doses are delivered without strings attached.
Ahead of the G7 summit in England in June, 100 prime ministers, former presidents and foreign ministers urged the Group of Seven nations to pay for global coronavirus vaccinations in an effort to curb the virus’ worldwide threat.
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