Statement on COVID

Georgia got the first batch of 42,000 vaccine shots via the COVAX program some days ago. (AP Photos)

Statement on COVID

As delivered by Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Elisabeth Rosenstock-Siller
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
May 13, 2021

Thank you, Madam Chair.

We commend the OSCE leadership and institutions for continuing their work under the difficult conditions imposed by the pandemic and express our condolences to the families and loved ones of OSCE staff who have been lost in the last year.

Madam Chair,

The United States is committed to leading the global response to the pandemic, including through rapidly researching, developing, and supporting global distribution of safe and effective vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics, as well as through our bilateral and multilateral relationships. To keep our populations safe, build back the economy better and more inclusively, and curb the emergence of variants, we must significantly accelerate the pace and ambition of global vaccination efforts in keeping with the core democratic values of transparency and accountability. All countries, regardless of income status, deserve vaccines that meet rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness. None of us face this threat alone.

The United States is the largest single donor to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in support of the COVAX Advance Market Commitment. We contributed an initial $2 billion to Gavi in support of COVAX in March, and plan to contribute an additional $2 billion to Gavi through 2022. COVAX will support direct vaccine procurement, as well as technical assistance to support broader country readiness and vaccine service delivery, including logistics and cold chain support.

The President announced on April 26 that the United States may share up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through this summer, and will provide details in the coming weeks. In addition, we have rapidly mobilized our bilateral assistance to save lives, stop the spread of the coronavirus, and meet the urgent health needs of the populations around the world.

We have entered a new phase in the fight to end this pandemic. While it seemed virtually impossible a year ago, unprecedented partnerships and collaboration among governments, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and the private sector have yielded several safe, effective, high-quality, and life-saving COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by stringent regulatory authorities and the World Health Organization.

As part of our long-term response strategy, the United States is committed to mitigating secondary impacts of the pandemic—such as food insecurity, mental illness and substance abuse, and gender-based violence—and to supporting, with the United Nations and other relevant multilateral institutions, the capacity of the most vulnerable communities to overcome and recover from its impact.

We share with other countries a growing sense of hope and optimism as COVAX deliveries arrive and more people receive vaccines, but there is more to be done. We call on all partners to support global access to safe and effective vaccines by urgently increasing financial and in-kind contributions to support COVAX. We also call on others to join us in supporting efforts to expand manufacturing capacity to bring additional safe and effective vaccines to the global market faster.

Thank you, Madam Chair.