Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios
President Biden will convene world leaders on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to push them to do more to end the pandemic — though he’s also facing criticism for prioritizing boosters at home.
Why it matters: There is still no functional plan in place to vaccinate the world, and past summits of this sort have flopped. The White House hopes that this virtual gathering will produce ambitious promises, accountability measures to track progress, and ultimately help achieve a 70% global vaccination rate this time next year.
Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free The U.S. is reportedly seeking to buy another 500 million Pfizer doses for donation ahead of the summit, which would bring the total doses pledged by the U.S. to over 1 billion.
Invitations to the summit included requests that countries make specific pledges of their own. India was a particular focus. As Axios reported , the Biden administration quietly pressured India to restart vaccine exports in part by promising a high-profile role for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the summit.
The backstory: India was set to be a primary vaccine supplier for lower-income countries before suspending most vaccine exports in March during a second wave at home.
State of play: The 140 million doses the U.S. has donated to date are a drop in the global bucket, but still more than other rich countries have managed. The EU promised another 200 million doses last week, to bring the total to 450 million, but it’s distributed just 18 million so far.
G7 countries have together donated just one-eighth of the doses they promised at a summit in June and are set to waste a combined 100 million doses this year, according to Max Hadler of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).
The timing is also a bit awkward. Biden is about to launch a campaign to provide a third dose to millions of Americans, over the objections of the World Health Organization, at a time when just 6% of people in Africa have had a single shot.