On Friday, March 5, 2021, the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines, donated through COVAX, arrived in Liberia. Ambassador Michael A. McCarthy joined dignitaries from the Missions of the European Union, Germany, Ireland, Great Britain, and France, and the United Nations Resident Coordinator at Roberts International Airport to welcome the shipment.
A US Embassy release said Ambassador McCarthy gave remarks along with Foreign Affairs Minister Dee-Maxwell Kemayah, Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah, Ambassador Hubert Jäger of Germany, United Nations Resident Coordinator Niels Scott, and National Public Health Institute of Liberia Director General Jane Macauley.
The United States, she noted, is committed to working with partners across the globe to end the devastating public health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this commitment, President Joe Biden announced $4 billion in funding to support the international vaccine initiative COVAX, which facilitates procurement and equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, including to 92 low- and middle-income economies supported through the COVAX Advanced Markets Commitment.
This contribution makes the United States the single largest contributor to the international response to COVID-19 and builds on decades of U.S. investments in global health, health security, and global health organizations, as well as demonstrating the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build back better by strengthening multilateral cooperation on the response and advancing global health.
“We encourage other countries to make and fulfill concrete commitments to COVAX and to support expanding vaccine manufacturing and distribution to help end this pandemic and ensure future preparedness,” the ambassador said.
Ambassador McCarthy congratulated the Government of Liberia on their continued commitment to reducing the transmission and halting the spread of COVID-19 in Liberia and in the region.
“Liberia’s successful fight against COVID-19 to date takes a critical leap forward with the arrival of vaccines to protect health care workers and the most vulnerable from this terrible disease. But the work doesn’t stop here,” he pointed out.
“We hope Liberians will take the opportunity to receive safe and effective vaccines if offered. And, as always, we remind everyone to continue to wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, stay two arms-length apart in public, and seek treatment if you feel sick. Together we can put an end to this pandemic,” the United States envoy asserted.
According to her, the U.S. Government provided an initial tranche of $2 billion to COVAX and will provide the additional funding through 2022. We will also work with other donors to make further pledges and commitments to meet the initiative’s critical needs. We are committed to working with partners and governments to support global COVID-19 vaccination efforts, with a focus on vaccinating vulnerable populations.
“For the last 60 years the U.S. Government has been working with Liberia’s health sector partners to strengthen services and build capacity. The U.S. Government provided $2.3 million to Liberia’s COVID-19 response. USAID supported risk communications, county-level coordination and response, cash transfers, hospitals and treatment facilities, and overall safety nets for the most vulnerable,” he explained.
He added that in addition, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to provide critical technical assistance to strengthen contract tracing, surveillance, and laboratory activities. Finally, the U.S. Department of Defense coordinated the transfer of personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and medical equipment.