President Joe Biden says the United States is buying and donating hundreds of millions of doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to help save lives, not to get favours or potential concessions from the nearly 100 low-income countries that will be receiving the shots.
He’s also calling on other countries to follow the American lead, saying “it is in all of our interests to see the global economy recover.”
Biden is outlining US global vaccine-sharing plans in St Ives, England, after a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Biden, Johnson and other leaders of the world’s largest economies are meeting for a summit that begins Saturday (NZT) in Cornwall, England.
Biden says the US will buy 500 million doses, with 200 million to be delivered this year and the remainder in the first half of 2022.
Earlier Johnson met Biden ahead of the three-day Group of Seven summit.
Johnson's eve-of-summit meeting with Biden will be a chance to underscore the trans-Atlantic alliance and to set out his vision of a post-Brexit "Global Britain" as a midsized country with an outsized role in international problem-solving.
President Biden joked to the media, "I told the prime minister we have something in common. We both married way about our station."
Johnson responded, "I am not going to disagree with the president, or indeed on anything else."
Biden and Johnson are vowing to defend their countries’ “enduring values” against challenges old and new, in a far-reaching document set out ahead of a Group of Seven summit in England.
The pair, who met for more than an hour, signed a document “building on the commitments and aspirations set out 80 years go” by predecessors Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in the Atlantic Charter.
That document led to the United Nations and NATO. The new one looks to the challenge posed by countries like China and Russia with its promises to promote free trade, human rights and a rules-based international order, and to counter “those who seek to undermine our alliances and institutions.”
The new charter also took aim at “interference through disinformation” in elections and murky economic practices, charges that the West has levelled at Moscow and Beijing.
The two leaders also promised to build stronger global defences against health threats, ahead of a summit dominated by the coronavirus pandemic.