PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD – The President of the United States of America; Joseph Biden is expected to issue a call for a global Summit to discuss the best way forward regarding the boosting of the supply of vaccines globally. According to reliable sources, this summit will be held during the United Nations General Assembly meeting later this month. The summit is expected to tackle the global health crisis and the paucity of the availability of vaccines to the less developed countries of the world.
This proposed initiative by the US President is of great significance in the fight against COVID-19, since it not only comes against the backdrop of the Administration’s promise to lead the global response in providing vaccines to the less developed countries on the one hand but also its plan to provide booster shots to its population.
The latter has met stiff resistance from the World Health Organization (WHO) whose Director General; Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has been calling on the wealthy nations to forgo the idea of booster shots and provide its surplus vaccines to the less developed countries of the world.
The global vaccine sharing initiative COVAX has announced a shortfall of .5 billion doses of vaccines expected by the end of the year. Instead of the 1.9 billion doses it received in June, it will now be receiving 1.4 billion.
Dr. Keith Rowley. During his tenure as Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Rowley first broached the idea of the equitable distribution of vaccines to the less developed countries through the COVAX facility. It was Dr. Rowley who led the negotiations with the African Medical Supplies, to procure vaccines for CARICOM countries.
It was under his leadership of CARICOM that the call for a global summit to discuss the equitable distribution of vaccines to less developed countries was first issued. Dr. Rowley had also written to President Biden and held virtual meetings with Vice President Kamala Harris, and Representatives Jim Clyburn and Maxine Waters to procure vaccines for CARICOM countries. This led to the United States donating a large quantity of Pfizer vaccines to CARICOM.
Therefore, this proposed summit has its genesis in the efforts of Dr. Rowley, Dr. Tedros who have both been championing the cause of the less developed countries for the last eighteen months. This should be supported by all countries of the world because the more people who are vaccinated worldwide, the fewer opportunities the virus will have to spread and mutate and life can return to some normalcy.