Ahead of the virtual G7 meeting, US President Joseph Biden announced a pledge of US$4.0 billion for COVAX, the global initiative for COVID-19 vaccine access. The funds will include US$2.0 billion in already appropriated funds plus an additional US$2.0 billion over the next two years.
COVAX is an international agreement spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) to increase the purchase and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to lower-income countries. Biden's announcement represents a reversal of the Trump administration's refusal to join the effort, driven in part by Trump's disapproval of the WHO. Biden also encouraged other G7 partners to follow through with their pledges.
Despite the funding decision, there are calls for the US and other wealthy countries to start sharing part of their vaccination supply with those poorer countries with no vaccines. Administration officials said that Biden is, for now, focused on most Americans getting vaccinated, and a White House statement said that the US will donate surplus doses "once there is sufficient supply in the United States".