Public/Global Health

White House to host global COVID-19 summit next week

The White House announced Friday that it will host a global COVID-19 summit next week, as it seeks to step up efforts to vaccinate the world.

The virtual summit, to be held on Wednesday, coincides with the U.N. General Assembly.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the Biden administration is planning to buy hundreds of millions more doses of vaccine to donate to the world as well, though details have not been announced yet.

The U.S. could also seek to boost commitments from other countries at the summit.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the U.S. would be calling for a "higher level of ambition" from participants on a range of topics, such as efforts to "vaccinate the world."

Other goals include boosting supplies like oxygen and protective equipment, and aligning the world around targets for getting out of the pandemic.

The moves come as the White House has been under pressure to do more to increase the global vaccination rate.

The White House has pointed to the 140 million vaccine doses it has already donated, and its previous announcement of over 500 million doses to be donated across this year and next. But experts have also called for ramping up global vaccine manufacturing to produce more doses.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) praised the reports of more dose donations on Friday, but called on the Biden administration to do more.

"This is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, but I urge the President to take bolder action as soon as possible," Krishnamoorthi said in a statement.

"We need to be talking about billions of vaccines, not millions, and we need those vaccines today, not 6 months from now," he added.

Krishnamoorthi said he looked forward to hearing more details at next week's summit.