Dec 6, 2021 - Health

U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution

Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development Samantha Jane Power.

USAID administrator Samantha Power. Photo: by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

The U.S. will invest an additional $400 million toward COVID-19 vaccination distribution efforts, such as bolstering cold chain infrastructure and supporting delivery, USAID administrator Samantha Power announced Monday.

Why it matters: While the problem of COVID-19 vaccine supply across the world is starting to ease in some places, the logistics of getting the vaccine in arms has emerged as a major bottleneck.

Driving the news: Power announced the creation of the Initiative for Global Vaccine Access, or Global VAX, during a ministerial meeting of international development partners from around the world.

  • The effort, aimed at improving international coordination around vaccine distribution, will prioritize scaling up support to countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

By the numbers: $315 million of the funds, from the American Rescue Plan Act, are earmarked for vaccine readiness programs.

  • $10 million will go toward in-country vaccine manufacturing.
  • $75 million will go toward offering additional support for USAID’s Rapid Response Surge Support to COVID-19 hotspots, such as strengthening oxygen market systems to improve reliable oxygen production and delivery.
  • This brings the total amount committed by the U.S. for vaccine readiness to $1.6 billion, officials said.

Between the lines: As Axios' Dave Lawler has previously reported, virtually no low-income countries are on track to vaccinate 40% of their population this year, the goal set by the WHO, according to a recent analysis by COVID GAP. Many will miss the 20% mark COVAX set as a minimum by the end of 2021.

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