President Biden’s Global COVID Summit fell short of critical funding commitments

May 31, 2022
by Katie Fleischer, Advocacy Associate

President Biden’s second Global COVID-19 Summit came at a pivotal moment, as the U.S. reached the tragic milestone of 1 million deaths caused by COVID. It’s clear that the pandemic is not over, and the government needs to continue the fight against COVID. Unfortunately, the administration fell short of our hopes.

Key Summit Takeaways

The Summit was co-hosted by the United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia, and Senegal. It featured many international organizations and world leaders, including Vice President Harris. Many speakers focused on the importance of prioritizing vulnerable populations, distributing vaccines, and preparing for future pandemics. 

The Summit was a great display of international cooperation, and the attention on sharing resources and research is encouraging. As Harris explained, complacency is not an option, so we need to both respond to the current threat and prepare for future pandemics. 

In total, the Summit raised $3.2 billion in new funding, paving the way for increased global partnership and action. Several world leaders emphasized that we can end the “acute phase” of the pandemic by focusing on getting shots in arms. They also acknowledged that U.S. leadership is essential to ensuring every country has the necessary resources to combat COVID. Disappointingly, the Biden administration failed to turn their leadership into action by contributing new money for global COVID efforts.

Despite co-hosting and asking world leaders to pledge money for vaccine distribution, access to testing and treatment, and a new pandemic preparedness fund at the World Bank, the U.S. did not offer any new funding. Instead, President Biden re-announced previous funding commitments to create a new pandemic preparedness fund at the World Bank. RESULTS is tracking this closely, as we have serious concerns about the proposed governance and funding focus, which are still in question. The administration also announced that the U.S. will share vaccine-related research through the WHO COVID technology global access pool. And Biden vowed to continue to expand vaccine coverage and access to test and treat strategies in low- and middle-income countries. 

What’s next for COVID funding?

In addition to sharing intellectual property and more vaccine doses, we simply need more money to combat the spread of COVID. Biden has now handed over responsibility to Congress, calling for $22.5 billion in emergency funding, including $5 billion for global COVID programs. 

If you’ve been following our work around this emergency COVID funding, you’ll know it’s been a rough ride. Congress has failed to deliver any new funding for the global response, despite multiple attempts over the last few months. We hoped to attach COVID funding to the Ukraine supplemental, but Biden backed down and allowed them to move separately through Congress, putting the future of the COVID supplemental at risk.

The Summit was an important symbol of the administration’s commitment to refocusing on COVID funding. But it’s clear that there is much more work to be done. It’s time for the Biden administration and Congress to provide the resources we desperately need to combat COVID at home and abroad.

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