Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
February 25, 2022
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you so much for hosting this critical event to galvanize global momentum for COVID-19 vaccinations. Before I speak about COVID-19, I want to thank the Minister of International Development for Canada for reminding us of the dire situation in Ukraine – which is also a threat to international peace and security. And I encourage all of you to focus on that situation in the coming days.
We must face this simple fact: that no one is safe until everyone is safe. That is true for the situation in Ukraine, and it’s also true for COVID. This is why the United States is committed to enhancing and leading global efforts to accelerate and expand access to safe and effective vaccines for all people, everywhere. We are the world’s largest single donor to COVAX. We have committed to donating 1.2 billion doses of safe and effective vaccine to the world, more than any other nation on earth. To date, we have shipped over 470 million vaccines to 112 countries around the world – all for free and with no strings attached.
We urge our fellow Member States and friends to step up with us to turn vaccines into vaccinations in all countries and at all income levels. We must acknowledge unequivocally that without a true and urgent commitment to vaccinating the world, the pandemic will continue to threaten our safety, our economies, and our future.
To that end, we have launched Global VAX – or the initiative for Global Vaccine Access – to meet our global goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of the entire population of every single country this year. Global VAX will expand assistance, enhance international coordination, and identify access barriers – with a specific emphasis on scaling up vaccination support in sub-Saharan Africa.
You’ve heard this said over and over again and I will repeat it, as well: no country can defeat this pandemic by itself. The world barely withstood this pandemic – so we have to prepare, right now, for the next one. We need to make urgent changes to the global health architecture and amend existing international health regulations. We need to establish a new fund and pool our resources to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases threats. And we need to strengthen and modernize the World Health Organization.
The world is counting on us. The world is counting on all of you. This is a challenge we all share, and it is one that we must take on, right now, together.
Thank you very much, Mr. President. Thank you, colleagues.