Live updates: Boris Johnson meets with Joe Biden ahead of G7 summit
President Biden cast his purchase of 500 million Pfizer vaccine doses as a commitment akin to America’s participation in World War II, saying on Thursday the United States’ values required it to help inoculate the world.
“In times of trouble, Americans reach out to lend a helping hand. That’s who we are,” Biden said, describing his new vaccine announcement as “historic” and citing the tragedies of the pandemic in the US along with the government’s “Herculean effort” to recover.
“America will be the arsenal of vaccines in our fight against Covid-19, just as America was the arsenal of democracy during World War II,” he said, harkening later to tanks and planes built near the Pfizer plant in Michigan during the war.
“Now, a new generation of American men and women…are committing today’s latest technology to build a new arsenal,” he said.
He sought to differentiate American efforts at sharing vaccines from Chinese and Russian distribution plans, saying the US “is providing these half a billion doses with no strings attached. Let me say it again: No strings attached.”
Speaking in the United Kingdom, an old ally, including during World War II, Biden said simply eradicating Covid-19 within US borders would not suffice.
“In this moment, our values call on us to do everything we can to vaccinate the world against Covid-19. It’s also in America’s self-interest,” Biden said in Cornwall, where leaders of the G7 are gathering this weekend for their first in-person summit since the start of the pandemic.
“As long as this virus rages elsewhere, there’s a risk of new mutations that could threaten our people. We know that raging Covid-19 in other countries holds back global growth, raises instability, and weakens government,” Biden said.
The United States, Biden said, must be “clear eyed that we need to attack this virus globally as well.”
“It is in all of our interest to have the global economy begin to recover as well. That won’t happen unless we can get this pandemic under control,” he said.
Speaking after Biden, Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla said it was the work of G7 nations to “shoulder the responsibility to vaccinate people in all countries.”
“Once again, the United States has answered the call, and we are grateful to you and your administration for your leadership on this front,” Bourla said.