Biden announces global US vaccine donation ahead of G7 summit

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 2020 GMT (0420 HKT) June 10, 2021
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2:27 p.m. ET, June 10, 2021

CNN reporter: Biden crafting message of a united west to challenge Russia and China

From CNN's Phil Mattingly / Written by CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

President Biden is carefully crafting his message during his first trip abroad to show a united west, to challenge what he sees as an "aggressive Russia and a competitive China," CNN's Phil Mattingly reports, following Biden's remarks in St. Ives, Cornwall, in England ahead of the G7 summit.

"I think it's an important point, about how this is kind of laying the groundwork for the overarching theme of the President's foreign policy. He's made very clear, and this is something he says both privately, his advisers say, but he also said it publicly, about his view of the moment that the world is in right now, kind of an existential battle between democracies and autocracies. And this first week, this first ten days, is kind of, for the first time, giving him an opportunity to get out on the world stage and make that pitch to the entire world. And I think it's important to," Mattingly told CNN's Ana Cabrera.

Mattingly also noted how Biden is making Covid-19 and the vaccine distribution a key component in his messaging to garner global support and assistance in the endeavor.

"The President is using these meetings, using the G7 really, to leverage the global effort, particularly on the western side of things, making clear it's not just the US that's buying and donating 500 million doses. He expects the other countries in the G7 to match, or make some type of similar effort as they try and leverage these relationships, leverage how the west operates, to be able to expand and scale up their capacity to donate and deliver over the course of the next several weeks and months and years," Mattingly said.

2:01 p.m. ET, June 10, 2021

Biden announces US will purchase 500 million Pfizer vaccines to donate globally

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

President Joe Biden speaks about his administration's global Covid-19 vaccination efforts ahead of the G-7 summit on Thursday in St. Ives, England.
President Joe Biden speaks about his administration's global Covid-19 vaccination efforts ahead of the G-7 summit on Thursday in St. Ives, England. Patrick Semansky/AP

In what he called a "major step that will supercharge the global fight" against the Covid-19 pandemic, President Biden announced that the United States will purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to donate to nearly 100 nations that are "in dire need" around the world.

The vaccines will start to be shipped in August, with 200 million doses to be delivered this year, the President said while speaking in St. Ives, England. Three hundred million will be delivered in the first half of 2022, Biden said.

"We're doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic, that's it. Period," he said.

Biden highlighted the United States' vaccination progress, saying the program has "saved tens of thousands of lives." 

"It's allowed millions, millions of Americans to get back to living their lives. And from the beginning of my presidency, we've been clear-eyed that we need to attack this virus globally as well. This is about our responsibility," Biden said.

"In this moment, our values call on us to do everything that we can to vaccinate the world against Covid-19. It's also in America's self-interest. As long as the virus rages elsewhere, there's a risk of new mutations that could threaten our people," he said.

Biden said the G7 nations would be announcing "the full scope" of their commitment tomorrow and he noted that the US vaccine donation is not "the end of our efforts to fight Covid-19 or vaccinate the world."

"We have to turn manufactured doses into shots in arms to protect people and communities," he said. "That's why the United States is already providing hundreds of millions in funding to support last-minute vaccination efforts, including new funding from Congress as part of the American Rescue Plan. And working with programs in Latin America, Asia and Africa. We're going to keep manufacturing doses. Donating doses. Getting jabs, as they say here in the UK, in arms."

1:56 p.m. ET, June 10, 2021

US and UK in "complete harmony" over need to uphold Good Friday Agreement, Johnson says

From CNN’s Eleanor Pickston and Samantha Tapfumaneyi

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he and President Biden were in “complete harmony” over the need to uphold the Good Friday Agreement, after talks in Cornwall, England, on Thursday ahead of the G7 summit.

“There's a complete harmony on the need to keep going, find solutions and make sure we uphold the Belfast Good Friday Agreement,” Johnson said in a pool clip. 

Johnson denied rumors that Biden had pressured him over the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol, adding that the US, UK and European Union “have one thing we absolutely all want to do, and that is to uphold the Good Friday, the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and make sure we keep the balance of the peace process going.”

“And that's absolute common ground. And, you know, I'm optimistic that we can do that,” he added.

Johnson said that the pair had “renewed” the relationship between the UK and the US, and covered a “huge” range of subjects, including security, NATO and climate change. “It's fantastic. It's a breath of fresh air,” he added.

The Belfast Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement, was signed in April 1998, restoring self-government to Northern Ireland, and setting the stage to create their own power-sharing government with a 108-member Assembly.

1:54 p.m. ET, June 10, 2021

Biden: US and UK reaffirmed "special relationship" with revitalized Atlantic Charter

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Source: Pool
Source: Pool

President Biden said his bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was "very productive" and reaffirmed the special relationship between the countries, in his remarks from St. Ives, Cornwall in England ahead of the G7 summit.

"We discharged and discussed a broad range of issues on which the United Kingdom and the United States are working in very close cooperation. We affirmed the special relationship, as it's not said lately, the special relationship between our people, and renewed our commitment to defending the enduring democratic values that both our nations share," Biden said.

The President noted that the two countries have agreed to work together in combatting a new century of challenges with a revitalized Atlantic Charter, which includes addressing cybersecurity and climate change.

"The strong foundation of our partnership, 80 years ago, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt signed an agreement known as the Atlantic Charter. It was a statement of first principles, a promise that the United Kingdom and the United States would meet the challenges of their age and they would meet it together. Today we build on that commitment with a revitalized Atlantic Charter updated to reaffirm that promise while speaking directly to the key challenges of this century: cybersecurity, emerging technologies, global health and climate change. We discussed our common goals for driving ambitious global action to address the climate crisis," Biden said.

1:31 p.m. ET, June 10, 2021

NOW: Biden delivers remarks after meeting with UK prime minister

From CNN's Betsy Klein and Kate Sullivan

Source: Pool
Source: Pool

President Biden is delivering remarks now from St. Ives, Cornwall in England following his bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He's expected to announce the United States plans to donate 500 million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses globally as part of his efforts to reassert US leadership on the world stage, officials said.

Administration officials suggested the move is part of a broader effort for the world's democracies to lead the way in pandemic recovery.

Here are key things to know about the vaccine donation:

  • Officials said the Pfizer doses will begin to ship in August and 200 million doses will be delivered by the end of this year.
  • The remaining 300 million doses will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
  • They will be manufactured in the US, the officials said, “employing thousands of workers” in states like Michigan, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
  • The cost will be around $1.5 billion, which will come from previously-allocated funds in the American Rescue Plan relief package passed earlier this year.
  • There will be no conditions for the nations that receive the doses.

Biden's move today will also serve to counter efforts by Russia and China to use their own state-funded vaccines to expand their influence across the world.

Hundreds of millions of doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, along with China's Sinovac and Sinopharm shots, have been making their way around the world. Only the Sinopharm vaccine has been accepted into the World Health Organization's COVAX initiative.

Biden had previously committed to sharing 80 million Covid-19 vaccine doses with other countries. Last week, the Biden administration announced a plan to share the first 25 million Covid-19 vaccine doses with the rest of the world and an overall framework of distributing at least 80 million doses by the end of June.

1:17 p.m. ET, June 10, 2021

Hotel near G7 site in Cornwall shuts down after some staff test positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London

A waterfront hotel near the G7 summit venue in Cornwall, England, has been forced to shut down after a number of staff tested positive for Covid-19, the company that owns the hotel told CNN in a statement on Thursday. The first day of the summit is set to start tomorrow.

A spokesperson for St Austell Brewery, which owns the Pedn Olva Hotel in St Ives, Cornwall, said: “We can confirm that a number of our team at the Pedn Olva, St Ives, have tested positive for Covid-19.” 

“We immediately notified Public Health England of these cases and have been working closely with them to ensure we follow all appropriate safety guidelines. Following extensive discussions over the last few days with PHE and Cornwall Council, we have taken the decision to fully close the hotel,” the statement continued.

“We fully appreciate the inconvenience given the limited accommodation options available in the area at the moment but the safety and security of our team and guests is our upmost priority. The hotel will reopen once a full Covid-19 deep clean has taken place and we have the available staff to run it,” it concluded.

The company did not respond to questions regarding anyone associated with the G7 who could potentially be staying at the hotel, the number of people who have tested positive or what has happened to the guests. It said it would be providing no further comment.

2:19 p.m. ET, June 10, 2021

Here's what the new Atlantic Charter says 

From CNN's Kevin Liptak in Falmouth, England

Toby Melville/WPA Pool/Getty Images
Toby Melville/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The new Atlantic Charter that President Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson were set to sign on Thursday during their bilateral meeting is meant to reflect the shifting threats facing the world 80 years after the original document was signed following World War II.

"It's been 80 years since the last one, it's about time that it gets refreshed," a senior administration official said ahead of the signing. "The original really outlined what the post-war world order could and should look like, this new charter will make clear what the coming decades of the 21st century can and should look like," the official said.

The new Atlantic Charter is aimed at building upon the historic declaration made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1941 that set out American and British goals for the world after the end of World War II.

"Today, the President of the United States and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom reaffirm their commitment to work together to realise our vision for a more peaceful and prosperous future," the document reads.

"Our revitalised Atlantic Charter, building on the commitments and aspirations set out eighty years ago, affirms our ongoing commitment to sustaining our enduring values and defending them against new and old challenges. We commit to working closely with all partners who share our democratic values and to countering the efforts of those who seek to undermine our alliances and institutions," it continues.

There are a few interesting points that reflect the document's change to a modern pact between the US and UK, in particular its mention of disinformation campaigns and malign influence in elections.

The document reads: "We remain united behind the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. We oppose interference through disinformation or other malign influences, including in elections, and reaffirm our commitment to debt transparency, sustainability and sound governance of debt relief. So too will we defend key principles such as freedom of navigation and overflight and other internationally lawful uses of the seas."

There are also mentions of confronting injustice and inequality, cyber threats, the climate crisis and health threats.

Read the full document below:

12:28 p.m. ET, June 10, 2021

US hopes to agree that ambassadors can return to Moscow and Washington at next week's Biden-Putin summit

From CNN's From Kylie Atwood and Jennifer Hansler

President Biden plans to address the strained US-Russia diplomatic relationship when he meets President Vladimir Putin next week. There's hope that the two leaders can agree to send their ambassadors back to Washington and Moscow after months with no senior diplomat being present in either country, according to three sources familiar with the plans. 

Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, was recalled from Washington about three months ago after Biden called Putin a killer. US Ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, left Moscow almost two months ago after Russia suggested he return to Washington for consultations.

Not having an ambassador in either country has made conducting basic diplomacy even more difficult at a time when relations are already severely strained.

The ambassadors' departures signaled a new low point in an already tense relationship, and their return appears to be the only modest deliverable that the Biden administration is eyeing out of the high-stakes summit. The aspiration comes as the Biden administration has tempered expectations that the US and Russia would come away from the meeting with any groundbreaking agreements.

"We don't think of US-Russia summits in terms of deliverables," National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters this week. "We are thinking of it as an opportunity to communicate what our intentions and capabilities are."

A State Department spokesperson said that Sullivan will "return to Moscow in the coming weeks," and that the US remains committed to "open channels of communication with the Russian government, both to advance US interests and to reduce the risk of miscalculation between our countries."

Read more here.

12:10 p.m. ET, June 10, 2021

Vaccine diplomacy will be a key part of Biden's international trip

From CNN's Kevin Liptak, Jeff Zeleny and Kaitlan Collins

President Biden's expected announcement Thursday evening that the United States plans to donate 500 million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses globally will be a part of his efforts to reassert US leadership on the world stage, officials said.

Administration officials suggested the move is part of a broader effort for the world's democracies to lead the way in pandemic recovery.

"This will be clearly the largest purchase and donation of Covid-19 vaccines by a single country, by far, and it's an unprecedented response," a senior administration official told reporters Thursday.

"We want to do everything we can to prevent more tragic loss across the globe," the official said, adding that it is "in our national interest to end this pandemic everywhere."

"Covid-19 knows no borders, and as long as this virus is in our world, Americans are at risk," the official said, stressing how the virus also "threatens economic opportunity."

The move will also serve to counter efforts by Russia and China to use their own state-funded vaccines to expand their influence across the world.

Hundreds of millions of doses of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, along with China's Sinovac and Sinopharm shots, have been making their way around the world. Only the Sinopharm vaccine has been accepted into the World Health Organization's COVAX initiative.

Many countries — including in Latin America, which has traditionally been an area of US influence — have been buying up large numbers of Russian and Chinese vaccines to fill gaps in their own vaccine rollouts.

The White House has said it has been monitoring and is concerned by efforts by Russia and China to use vaccines to make geopolitical gains.

The move is also intended to encourage other US allies to step up.

Read more about the US vaccine donation here.