Covid: the United States wants to refinance the fight against the pandemic

Put the spotlight back on the Covid. A world summit on the pandemic organized under the leadership of the United States is being held this Thursday, virtually, to remobilize the main players in the fight against the pandemic. Although attention is increasingly focused on other issues, including the war in Ukraine, the virus is still rampant.

More than 2,000 people die of it every day on the planet (against more than 10,000 at the beginning of February) and the number of new contaminations, if it has returned to its pre-Omicron level, remains high (500,000 per day). Except in Europe, the pandemic is stagnating, or even gaining ground. As for the vaccination coverage of the African continent, it remains quite insufficient, at 22%.

In this context, we must “redouble collective efforts to end the acute phase of the pandemic” and “prepare for future health threats”, underlined the White House when announcing the summit, co-organized with the Germany, Indonesia, Senegal and Belize which respectively hold the presidency of the G7, the G20, the African Union and the Caribbean Community (Caricom). President Biden and the heads of state of these countries will speak at the opening of the summit, to which NGOs, regional health agencies, international institutions and private companies are also invited.

Administer the doses already produced

The summit will build on the progress of the first edition organized by Washington last September, which ended, in particular, with the announcement of the purchase of 500 million additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the United States. United to redistribute them to developing countries, via the Covax system.

For this second edition, while it is still a question of improving vaccination coverage, including with “effective booster doses”, and improving access to tests and treatments, the difficulties have changed: it is not It’s more a question of finding new doses (widely available) than of administering those already produced.

“There are tens of millions of unclaimed doses because these countries lack the resources to build their cold chains, which is basically a refrigeration system, to fight misinformation and to hire staff to vaccinate. said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Monday.

Envelope blocked at Congress

The challenge is therefore to raise funds to improve the course of vaccination campaigns locally. The United States therefore called on the participants of the summit to “significant new commitments”.

The Biden administration, however, is in a bad position to claim funds as it struggles to mobilize them at home. The Democrats are indeed coming up against the reluctance of elected Republicans to approve a new envelope of 22.5 billion dollars intended to finance the anti-Covid arsenal, including 5 billion abroad, while a new epidemic outbreak could take place this fall.

To gain support from Republicans, Democrats could give in to their demand to reinstate a measure restricting the entry of immigrants in the name of fighting the pandemic. Joe Biden had already resolved on Monday to dissociate the vote for this new envelope from that of another, $40 billion in aid to Ukraine, approved on Wednesday. But the fight against the pandemic is “just as vital”, had hammered the president.