As deadly surges in COVID-19 cases continue in countries worldwide, the time is now for the U.S. government to step up as a leader in equitable vaccine procurement and delivery... to strengthen health systems and support frontline health workers, 70% of whom are women... and to get vaccines into arms no matter a person's ability to pay or where they live.
Right now, the U.S. faces a critical choice: Invest at least $11.3 billion to ensure vaccines reach the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities worldwide or pay as much as almost $700 billion in continued economic loss if we fail to meet this global challenge.
Take action now. Tell U.S. Congress and the Biden Administration: Ensure the U.S. pays its fair share for fast and fair vaccine distribution and global investments in health systems and health workers.
I am joining CARE Action advocates in calling on the U.S. to pay its fair share to combat the COVID-19 pandemic globally, or else run the risk of a continued pandemic and damage to the U.S. economy. The U.S. faces a choice — invest at least $3.7 billion a year for the next three years to ensure equitable delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine in low-and-middle-income countries and support global herd immunity, or face continued damage to the U.S. economy to the tune of as much as nearly $700 billion in economic loss if we fail to meet the global challenge.
The U.S. must be a leader in ensuring that low-and middle-income countries can not only obtain vaccine doses, but also deliver those vaccines to the most vulnerable, hardest to reach populations.
That is why I am asking the Biden Administration and Congress to ensure the U.S. meets its fair share by investing at least $3.7 billion a year for the next three years, or at least $11.3 billion total, in additional funding to fully fund the Access to COVID-19 Tools-Accelerator (ACT-A) vaccine and health system connector pillars as well as complementary investments in direct development and humanitarian assistance that support frontline and community health workers ensuring delivery to the last mile.
It's not enough to just procure vaccine doses. Investments must also cover the cost of delivery, particularly support for frontline health workers, to get vaccines into arms in the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities. CARE estimates that for every $1 a country or donor government invests in vaccine doses, they need to invest $5 to deliver the vaccine. Half of that cost must go to funding, training, equipping and supporting health workers, at least 70% of whom are women.
At the same time that we invest in global vaccine distribution, the U.S. must also increase overall U.S. foreign assistance funding to support addressing the secondary impacts of COVID-19 including increased food insecurity, increased gender-based violence, and reduced access to lifesaving primary health services like family planning, vaccines and HIV/AIDs treatment.
I am grateful that Congress has passed nearly $18 billion in global COVID response funding. This funding will go a long way in supporting vulnerable communities around the world to respond to COVID-19, however, more needs to be done to address the growing inequalities the pandemic has caused around the world and ensure equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
This health crisis knows no borders and helping vulnerable communities around the world effectively prepare and respond to COVID-19 is not only the right thing to do but is economically beneficial to the U.S. Thank you for your leadership at this critical time.