WASHINGTON – The White House announced a new global vaccine initiative Friday – aimed at expanding manufacturing capacity in India for up to 1 billion new doses for developing countries by 2022.
The U.S. and Japan will help finance the increased manufacturing work at Biological E Ltd., an Indian pharmaceutical company, and work with Australia to strengthen “last-mile” vaccination, according to a White House fact sheet released Friday.
The administration touted the effort ahead of a virtual summit Friday morning between President Joe Biden and the leaders of Japan, India and Australia.
An administration official also said that Biden will host Japan’s prime minister at the White House – his first in-person meeting with a foreign leader – as his administration seeks to shore up U.S. alliances in Asia and counter China’s global ambitions. No date has been set yet for the meeting with Yoshihide Suga.
On Friday, Biden met virtually with Suga, as well as the prime ministers of India and Australia, to discuss China, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and other shared concerns. Biden opened the session from the White House’s State Dining Room, with the other leaders – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan’s Suga – appearing on large flat-screen televisions.
The so-called “Quad” is seen as a strategic alliance to counter Beijing’s economic and military expansionism. All four countries have…