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Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

Biden plans global COVID response summit as lawmakers call for increased vaccine aid

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The Biden administration seeks an international summit on COVID-19 pandemic responses and to form a united global front for vaccination efforts, a proposal that could impact vaccine manufacturing, supply chains and even the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.

Closer to home, though, U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) promptly followed up on the announcement with cheers, and used it as an opportunity to push for greater vaccine investment in Congress’s much-debated latest budget package.

“I’m heartened to see President Biden is heeding the call for American leadership to expand international vaccine aid, but it’s imperative that any summit be accompanied by a dramatic expansion of our vaccine manufacturing infrastructure, our donation programs, and our support for building international vaccine delivery supply-chains,” Krishnamoorthi said. “A global summit can undoubtedly help draw the global commitments necessary to vaccinate the world and end this pandemic, but those efforts will only succeed if we meet the President’s own goal of serving as the world’s arsenal of vaccines in our actions as well as our rhetoric.”

So far, 117 members of Congress have called for major expansions of the U.S. vaccine aid program in any budget reconciliation package. Krishnamoorthi said in a statement that Biden’s call for a summit has shown his own recognition of the dangers inherent in failing to vaccinate the world. Now, he wants to see the president put voice to those concerns and join these lawmakers in pressing for greater vaccine aid.

“Through supporting a dramatic expansion of our vaccine investments in the budget reconciliation package, he can show he also recognizes the solution,” Krishnamoorthi said.

During his summit, Biden is expected to discuss with other leaders a number of ways to improve vaccine manufacturing and distribution, increase oxygen supplies to nations in need and cooperate internationally on COVID-19 research and development.