We stand at “a decisive moment in the fight against COVID-19. On the one hand, the Omicron variant is receding in many places, and thanks to the ingenuity of modern science, we’re armed with lifesaving vaccines,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “At the same time, we all know the reality that the pandemic is far from over.”
“The World Health Organization set the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of people in every country across every income level by this September. At the rate we’re going, we are well below our target. One recent analysis found that while nearly 80 percent of people are vaccinated in upper, middle, and high-income countries, the number falls to less than 11 percent in low-income countries.”
Speaking at a virtual COVID-19 Global Action Meeting, which brought together leading figures around the globe, Secretary Blinken unveiled a Global Action Plan to fight COVID-19 that “takes on what the international community has identified as the biggest barriers left in the fight to end this pandemic.”
“It’s our clearest roadmap yet, laying out six key lines of effort that, when pursued together, will help us achieve the goals laid out by President Biden at the Global COVID-19 Summit last year: vaccinate the world, save lives now, prepare the world against future pandemics. It’s designed explicitly to match a country’s unique strengths with pressing areas of need.”
“Our challenge now is to connect these capacities with where they can do the most good for the most people,” said Secretary Blinken.
First, we must raise vaccination rates by increasing access to effective vaccines, and solve last-mile challenges, like access to cooling technologies for vaccines in transit.
Second, we must strengthen the supply chains for vaccines and other critical supplies.
Third, we must address the lack of information, along with misinformation and disinformation that lead to low confidence in vaccines.
Fourth, we will increase support for front-line health care workers who risk their lives to save others.
Fifth, we will ease access to treatments and therapeutics for COVID patients.
And finally, we must strengthen global health security for the next emergency.
This is all “possible when all of us – governments, international organizations, civil society, health care workers, individual citizens – work in unison,” said Secretary Blinken. “With that level of coordination, partnership, and commitment, we can and we will end this pandemic.”