“The emergence and spread of new variants, like Omicron, have reinforced the need for a strategy aimed at controlling Covid-19 worldwide,” the White House said in a statement Monday announcing the May summit, which will also be hosted by Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal.
About 16 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose of a vaccine, compared to 80 percent in high- and upper-middle-income countries, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford. Production problems, export bans and vaccine hoarding by wealthy nations have exacerbated that divide.
The May gathering will carry over themes from the first meeting, held in September, the White House said, including the logistical work of getting shots into arms, reaching high-risk groups with virus tests and treatments, building out more local and regional vaccine manufacturing capacity and increasing the number of public health workers.
Vaccine supply in the lowest-income countries has grown, but health officials say that doses can arrive on an irregular schedule, making it difficult to organize vaccination campaigns, particularly when health systems lack the storage, transportation and staff needed for them.