Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra spoke today with the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Joined by Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, Loyce Pace, the Office of Global Affairs’ Director of Multilateral Relations, Mara Burr, and Geneva-based health attaché, Tracy Carson, the Secretary conveyed his appreciation on behalf of the United States government to WHO for their global leadership in the COVID-19 response. The Secretary reaffirmed the U.S. whole-of-government approach and leadership for responding aggressively to end the global pandemic and building back better global health security. As part of this support, the U.S. has been a leader in donating COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the world. As of January 11, the U.S. has donated nearly 374 million doses of vaccine worldwide. In addition, the U.S. has supported the expansion of regional vaccine production and recently launched an initiative to accelerate progress toward the goal of vaccinating 70% of the population of all countries by mid-2022 through a focus on turning vaccines in vials into vaccinations in arms.
The Secretary acknowledged the longstanding public health cooperation between the United States and WHO, reflected on nearing the one-year occasion of the Biden Administration re-engaging with WHO, and our interest in working together to strengthen and reform the institution. He expressed our nation’s commitment to strengthening ongoing collaboration to tackle COVID-19, strengthen global health governance and security, and prevent sexual exploitation and abuse. Secretary Becerra and Dr. Tedros expressed the importance of continued and sustained partnership among the U.S. and WHO, and discussed potential topics for the next iteration of a joint U.S.-WHO Strategic Dialogue later this year.