Blinken calls for vaccination gap to be closed

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged countries to act to eliminate the coronavirus vaccination gap between industrialized and developing countries.

Blinken on Wednesday hosted a foreign ministerial-level meeting online to address the coronavirus response.

He was joined by representatives from about 40 countries and international organizations, including the World Health Organization.

Blinken noted that while more than half the population is fully vaccinated in North America and Europe, the figure is less than 10 percent in Africa. He said, "We've got to close that gap."

Blinken called on countries to boost vaccine production and increase donations to the COVAX Facility, an international initiative led by the WHO that aims for equitable access to vaccines.

He also revealed that the United States has helped broker a deal between Johnson & Johnson and COVAX to deliver vaccines in conflict zones and other humanitarian settings.

Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies agreed at their summit last month to make efforts to close the vaccination gap.

The US administration of President Joe Biden is apparently eager to take the initiative on this issue.