| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Washington appoints envoy to administer vaccines, pledges to increase its aid

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed that his country will soon be able to increase its international aid for vaccines against Covid-19 and will not seek “in return for concessions,” announcing the appointment of a veteran official as the US coordinator for the global response to the virus.

Blinken told reporters that the top priority for the US administration now is to fight the pandemic inside the country, but this goal will be achieved soon, recalling that President Joe Biden promised that by April 19, 90% of citizens will be able to register to receive the vaccine.

“We are reviewing options that allow us to share more with other countries in the future. We believe that we will be in a position to do more in this regard,” he added.

“By helping to end one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, we can demonstrate to the world once again what American leadership and American ingenuity can do,” he said.

While acknowledging the existence of “growing desperation” in parts of the world due to the slow arrival of vaccines, the US secretary said, “I promise you that we will act as quickly as possible.”

At his press conference, Blinken announced the appointment of Gayle Smith, the former head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) under former President Barack Obama, as the US coordinator for the global response to Covid-19 and health security.

Most recently, Smith led the “One” campaign championed by pop star Bono to fight extreme poverty.

He added, “We will treat our partner countries with respect. We will not exaggerate our promises and fail to fulfill them,” pledging to distribute vaccines “that have been proven to be safe and effective.”

Last month, the United States announced a joint initiative with India, Japan and Australia to produce more than a billion additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of next year, with a focus on benefiting Southeast Asia.

  • Lebanese National News Agency