State Department defends US covid response, shares ambitious new targets

State Department defends US covid response, shares ambitious new targets
Amid continuing high covid infection rates, the US hopes to lead the world in getting past the pandemic. US government officials discussed
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
01 October, 2021
More than 700,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. [Brooke Anderson/The New Arab]

As the US continues to lead the world in covid cases and deaths, it leaders are nevertheless hoping to guide the world in putting an end to the pandemic. This, they believe can be done through summits and vaccine exports.

“In using those events to create momentum, we also though it really important to line up the world behind a set of targets,” said Gayle, Smith State Department Coordinator for Global Covid Response, during a press briefing on Thursday. She suggested America’s allies can do more to address the pandemic through summits, such as the G20, US exports of vaccines and better distribution.

“One of the challenges we have is that we need the production of more vaccines, but more vaccines in more places,” she added.

Jeremy Konyndyk Executive Director of the USAID Covid-19 Task Force believes it’s possible that by next year’s UN General Assembly in September, the world could be 70 percent vaccinated, “with the worst of this pandemic behind us, and really able to pivot towards a safer new normal.”

Some of these ambitious goals, however, are at odds with US actions. Reporters on the conference call pointed out the country’s lack of international vaccine distribution while it rolls out its own booster shots; a lack of cooperation from big pharmaceutical companies in helping develop an mRNA hub; questions over how Africa – which is currently 4.4 percent fully vaccinated – can be assisted in increasing its vaccination rate; and America’s refusal to recognise non-FDA or WHO-approved vaccines of foreigners wishing to enter the country.

Konyndyk acknowledged that the coming year will be a challenge as the US works to meet its high targets that it has now committed to.

“Having defined a set of targets, we’re diving into the really hard work of beginning to mobilise and organise the commitments and the contributions that are going to be necessary to actually deliver on and ensure we can cover those targets,” Konyndyk said.