Opening Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the White House Global COVID-19 Summit

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Washington, D.C.
May 12, 2022


Thank you to President Biden, Vice President Harris, our distinguished co-hosts, partners, world leaders, and everyone tuning in today. Together, our efforts will help end this pandemic, which has caused so much pain and disruption. My name is Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and I have the honor of representing the United States at the United Nations.

When we convened the last Summit, I said that only a truly global response can meet this moment. That was just over seven months ago. And in that time, our global efforts have saved countless lives. The United States, in partnership with COVAX and others, hit a critical milestone: donating over a half billion vaccine doses to over 115 countries. We’ve provided more than $19 billion in COVID assistance, ranging from health, humanitarian, economic, and development support.

But we know supplying COVID-19 vaccines isn’t enough. We also need to accelerate vaccine uptake and ensure vaccines make it into arms quickly and equitably. That means tackling difficult cold chain supply issues, addressing vaccine hesitancy, and expanding distribution support. And that’s why we launched the Global VAX program to further ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations around the world, providing resources to more than 70 countries, and surging support to 11 developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce vaccination barriers.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world – from Niger to Thailand – and I’ve watched the vaccines we’ve donated actually go into arms. I’ve seen how our assistance has protected vulnerable populations and frontline workers from sickness and death. But our work isn’t done. In total, we’ll ship out 1.2 billion doses across the globe – with no strings attached. We’re doing this because no country can end COVID alone and we’re committed to increasing vaccination rates for every country.

Today is about keeping up the momentum and saving lives. As the disease continues to evolve and new strains emerge, our strategy to defeat the pandemic must also evolve. Let’s marshal our collective knowledge and resources to distribute more vaccines, expand equitable access to testing and treatment, and support health care workers. At the same time, let’s also keep our eye to the future, so we are better prepared to prevent and respond to the next pandemic. The investments we make today to strengthen our health systems, protect those in need, and make access to vital resources more equitable will pay dividends for years to come.

And that’s why we’re focused on advancing global health at the United Nations, where I’m working with coalitions on antimicrobial resistance, global health security, and universal health coverage. We have to come together, bilaterally and multilaterally, to ensure our global health system is as strong and prepared as it can be.

And now, I’m pleased to introduce President Macky Sall, African Union chair and one of the co-hosts of today’s summit. Senegal’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts through a “go early, go hard, and keep it simple” approach is an example to all of us.

Mr. President, over to you.