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Biden Speaking in England: "Very Productive Meeting" with U.K. P.M. Johnson; Biden: Fighting COVID "Major Focus" of G-7 Nations; Biden: Vaccine Donation "Not the End of Our Efforts". Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired June 10, 2021 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.
The climate leaders' summit I hosted in April was, in part, about helping drive forward the momentum toward the critical COP 26 that the U.K. will host in Glasgow later this year.
We talked about the shared sacrifices our servicemembers have made, bravely serving side by side in Afghanistan for close to 20 years.
The U.K. was with us from the start, as they always are, equally committed to rooting out the terrorist threat. And now we're coordinating our withdrawal today.
And of course, we talked about how our two nations can together lead the global fight against COVID-19.
That's been a major focus of the G-7 under British leadership, particularly in focusing and coordinating our resources to help vaccinate the world.
And tonight, I'm making an historic announcement regarding America's leadership in the fight against COVID-19.
America knows firsthand the tragedies of this pandemic. We've had more people die in the United States than anywhere in the world. Nearly 600,000 of our fellow Americans, moms, dads, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents.
More deaths from COVID-19 in the United States than from World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 combined. Combined.
We know the tragedy. We also know the path to recovery.
The United States is now vaccinating 64 percent of our adults with at least one shot. Just four and a half months ago, we are at only 5 percent with one shot.
It took a herculean effort on the part of our government to manage one of the biggest and, I would say, most complicated logistical challenges in our history.
It took the ingenuity of scientists, building on decades of research to develop a vaccine.
It took the full capacity of American companies, manufacturing and delivering the vaccines around the clock.
And as a result, we have the lowest number of daily deaths since the first day of this pandemic.
Our economy is rebounding. Our vaccination program has already saved tens of thousands of lives. With that count growing each day. And 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, our humanitarian obligation to save as many lives as we can, and our responsibility to our values.
We value the inherent dignity of all people. In times of trouble, Americans reach out to offer help and offer a helping hand.
That's who we are. And when we see people hurting and suffering anywhere around the world, we seek to help as best we can.
That's why under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the United States has made transformative commitments to bolster global health.
Commitments under President Bush, like PEPFAR, which changed the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
And in this moment, our values call for 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.
We know that raging COVID-19 in other countries holds back global growth, raises instability, and weakens governments. And as we've seen in the United States, with evidence clear, day by
day, the key to reopening and growing economies is to vaccinate your people.
Our vaccination program has helped the American economy begin to recover from the worst economic crisis in a century.
Over two million new jobs created, just in the last four months, since I've become president.
An historic decline in long-term unemployment. Businesses reopening. And a projected economic growth of 6.9 percent, the fastest in nearly four decades in America.
Just as the American economy's recovering, it is in all of our interests to have the global economy begin to recover as well. And that won't happen unless we can get this pandemic under control worldwide.
That's why, as I said in my address to the joint session of Congress in April, America will be the arsenal of vaccines in our fight against COVID-19. Just as America was the arsenal of democracy during World War II.
Over the past four months, we've taken a number of steps toward this historic effort. We have contributed more than any nation to KoVax, a collective global effort that is delivering COVID-19 vaccines across the world.
We supported manufacturing efforts abroad though our partnerships with Japan, India and Australia, known as the Quad.
We've shared doses with our neighbors, Canada and Mexico.
And in addition, three weeks ago, with America's vaccine supply secured and with confidence that we have enough vaccines to cover every American who wants one, we announced that we would donate 80 million doses of our own vaccine in house now to the supply of the world by the end of June.
Many of these doses are shipping to countries around the world as we speak.
And today, we're taking a major step that will supercharge the global fight against this pandemic.
In my direction, the United States will purchase an additional half billion doses from Pfizer. Pfizer vaccine. That will donate nearly 100 low- and lower-middle-income countries. They will be the beneficiaries.
Let me say that again. The United States will purchase a half a billion doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to donate to nearly 100 nations that are in dire need in the fight against this pandemic. That's a historic step. The largest single purchase in donation of
COVID-19 vaccines by any single country ever.
Importantly, this is the mRNA vaccine, which is proven to be extremely effective against COVID-19 and every known variant of that virus thus far.
These half a billion vaccines will start to be shipped in August as quickly as they roll off the manufacturing line. And 200 million of these doses will be delivered this year in 2021. And 300 million will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
Let me be clear. Just as with the 80 million doses we previously announced, the United States is providing these half million doses with no strings attached. Let me say it again. With no strings attached.
Our vaccine donations don't include pressure for favors or potential concessions. We're doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That's it. Period.
I also want to thank Albert Bourla, Pfizer's CEO and chairman, for joining me today.
We've gotten to know each other over the last few months. He and I and his entire team have really -- he's really stepped up at this critical stage in our fight against the pandemic.
And the plan is for a half a billion doses that we'll be sending around the world to be produced in the United States, including at Pfizer's manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
And 80 years ago, not too far from that plant in Kalamazoo, in the Detroit area, American workers built tanks and planes and vehicles that helped defeat the global threat of fascism in World War II. They built what became known as the Arsenal of Democracy.
Now, a new generation of American men and women, working with today's latest technology, is going to build a new arsenal to defeat the current enemy of world peace, health instability, COVID-19.
Albert was gracious enough to welcome me to the Kalamazoo plant back in February. It's incredible the ingenuity, the care, the safety that goes into every single dose as I toured the entire plant.
Most of all, when you're there you feel the pride of every worker there feels, how the pride they feel, in what they're doing.
I've been to a lot of plants. I've worked -- I'm a big union guy. I've been doing it my whole career.
But you can see the looks on their faces. They were proud. I mean, it's so silly. They were proud of what they were doing. They knew what they were doing. American workers will now produce vaccines to save lives of people in
Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. People they will never meet and have never met. Places they've never visited and probably won't have an opportunity to.
But lives saved all the same thanks to American leadership, American workers, hard work, and values.
Let me close with this. This is a monumental commitment by the American people.
As I said, we're in a nation full of people who step up at times of need to help our fellow human beings, both at home and abroad. We're not perfect, but we step up.
We're not alone in this endeavor. That's the point I want to make. We're going to help lead the world out of this pandemic, working alongside our global partners.
Under the U.K. chairmanship of the G-7, democracies of the world are posed to deliver as well.
This U.S. contribution is the foundation for additional coordinated efforts to help vaccine in the world -- vaccinate the world.
The British government, the prime minister, has led a strong campaign to get people vaccinated across the U.K. I'm grateful they're making their own generous donation.
Tomorrow, the G-7 nations will be announcing the full scope of our commitment, our meeting the G-7.
I want to thank all of my G-7 partners for stepping, to recognize our responsibility to meet the moment. I'm looking forward to working with my counterparts on these efforts in the coming days and much more.
One final point I want to make clear. This is not the end of our efforts to find COVID-19 or vaccinate the world.
We have turned manufacturing -- we have to turn manufacturing doses into shots in arms to protect people in communities.
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 U.K., in arms until the world has beaten this virus.
I want to thank you all.
Now I'd like to turn it over to my friend, the CEO and chairman of Pfizer, Albert Bourla. Albert, it's all yours.
And again, personally, thank you for stepping up.
ALBERT BOURLA, CEO & CHAIRMAN, PFIZER: Thank you, sir.
BIDEN: Thank you very much.
BOURLA: Thank you, Mr. President. And this is, of course, a great honor to be with you today for this historic announcement.
As the G-7 countries come together for this critical summit, the eyes of the world are on the leaders of these powerful nations to help solve the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
While great progress has been made in many developed nations, the world is now asking the G-7 leaders to solve their responsibility to help vaccinate people in all countries.
Mr. President, I know from our conversations that we agree that every man, woman and child on the planet, regardless of financial conditions, race, religion or geography, deserve access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.
And once again, the United States has answered the call.
And we are grateful to you and your administration for your leadership in this front.
Today, we are providing 500 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to the world's poorest nations.
This will significantly enhance our ability to meet our goal of providing two billion doses of the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries over the next 18 months.
Thanks to the ingenuity of so many scientists and the dedication of so many manufacturing workers, today, we can see clearly the light at the end of the tunnel. But we still have work to do.
And I can assure you, Mr. President, that we will be relentless in pursuing more solutions to end the pandemic.
Just this week, we began dosing participants aged 5 to 11 years old in a global phase two study. And as we speak, we continue studies in pregnant women.
We are also closely monitoring and addressing the emerging variants.
We are testing our vaccines' response to newly arising variants. And we are coordinating with public health authorities around the world on surveillance efforts.
So far, data saw that none of the existing variant strains has escaped the protection provided by our vaccine. I repeat, none, not one.
Still, we have built a process to develop within 100 days a new vaccine if needed, god forbid.
Our scientists are also pursuing an oral treatment against COVID-19. Initial indications are promising. And if things goes well, we could apply for approval before the end of this year.
But I wanted to finish my -- by coming back to the importance of your announcement today, Mr. President. In a pandemic, everyone is only as protected as their neighbor, their neighbors down the street, as well as their global neighbors around the world.
Today's announcement with the U.S. government gets us closer to our goal and significantly enhances our ability to save even more lives across the globe.
Mr. President, I want to thank you for your leadership, vision and partnership. We look forward to continuing to work with your administration to ensure that science wins the battle against COVID- 19.
BIDEN: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, do you believe --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, do you believe you're meeting with Putin can change his behavior in a way sanctions have not yet?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, did you warn Prime Minister Johnson that a trade deal -- (INAUDIBLE).
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: It looks like the president is not taking questions today. But you've just been listening in to live remarks from President Biden in St. Ives, England, following his meetings with the U.K. prime minister.
And today, we heard not only from President Biden but he also had the CEO of Pfizer there with him as they made this announcement officially that the U.S. is purchasing and then donating 500 million doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine to the poorest nations around the world to help, as he put it, in the global vaccination effort, saying, in these times of need, the U.S. needs to step up and help and lead.
Let me bring back our team of reporters and experts, Phil Mattingly, Clarissa Ward. We also have CNN chief political analyst, Gloria, Borger with us, as well as Dr. Celine Gounder, who is back as well.
Gloria, let me start with you.
Why do you think it was important for President Biden to announce this plan to donate hundreds of millions of vaccines on the world stage instead of just announcing it here in the U.S. before this trip?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's part of his larger plan during this foreign trip, which is to say that not only is America back and engaged with the rest of the world, but part of his plan here, the narrative, is that America is leading the rest of the world.
And one line really struck me, which was he said America will be the arsenal of vaccines, just as America was the arsenal during World War II.
And he -- you know, obviously, this is part of a move by these democracies to counter efforts by Russia and China, who are also supplying vaccines to countries, and to say, the democracies of the world are stepping up to do what we can do.
But also to say that this isn't enough. I mean, what the president's talking about today, I believe, would cover 3 percent of the world's population.
So just think of it that way, how much more is needed.
CABRERA: So we're talking 500 million doses of vaccine right now.
Dr. Gounder, how significant is that? How far will that go?
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, just as Gloria has just pointed out, this is less than 5 percent of the world's population that you can vaccinate with that.
We need some 11 billion doses to vaccinate the world. So we really do need to be ramping up production, that includes ramping up production by companies like Pfizer and Moderna.
They also need to be sharing their know-how with other contract manufacturing organizations to help scale up their manufacturing capacity.
We need to be ramping up production of raw materials.
And I think part of the challenge to the G-7, in addition to helping ramp up production of supply, is also to pitch in with distribution.
So we've been saying all along it's not enough to have shots on the shelves. You need to get shots in arms.
There's a whole lot of logistics involved in public education and public campaigns involved in getting people getting people vaccinated. So that's a lot of the work that also has yet to be done.
CABRERA: And 500 million doses, though, is the largest donation from any single country at this point.
I wonder, Clarissa, how does this move position America in the eyes of allies and even adversaries alike?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it really depends on who you talk to, Ana.
I mean, certainly, we have actually reached out to the head of the CDC in Africa to get his perspective on all this. He said that he welcomed the decision, that he thought it was very, very positive, in fact.
But that it is just the tip of the iceberg. As you heard there from Dr. Gounder, in Africa, for example, 0.6 percent of Africans have actually given the vaccine. And 60 percent actually need it. So, clearly, a huge amount of work left to do.
And the other thing he touched on, which I thought was really interesting, was beware the pitfalls of vaccine diplomacy.
Right now, there are broad calls across the poorest countries in the world for all world leaders to be acting in concert, not just the G-7, not just the world's leading democracies, but also countries like Russia and, of course, particularly, like China.
And I think some will be saying on the sidelines here that they're seeing whispers of, essentially, the G-7 trying to exploit and take advantage of this momentum for their own political purposes in a moment where, really, all countries across the world should be working together.
CABRERA: Phil, how does this first trip for Biden set the tone for the next four years?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Look, it's obviously an important moment. And I think the reason why -- clearly, meeting with world leaders face-to-face, particularly for the first time after the pandemic really kind of kept the president domestic bound for the better part of the last four months, it's an important moment for a president that's been involved in U.S. foreign policy for the better part of four decades.
But I think -- and Clarissa's been talking about this a lot -- 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 been clear, and this is something he says both privately, advisors say, but also he's 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 10 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 keep in mind how this week is structured. Obviously, the meeting with the kind of most valuable U.S. ally, the ally with the special relationship starting everything off.
Then with the largest kind of democratic economies in the world coming next.
Then the NATO alliance, which obviously has played such a central role to how the Western world has operated over the course of the last several decades, leading up to that one-on-one meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
This didn't happen by accident. All of this is choreographed to send a message to the world that the West is certainly aligned, they are unified.
And they are working to challenge -- what the president has made very clear is what he sees as an aggressive Russia and a rising and competitive China.
It kind of plays into this overarching theme that the president has tried to pitch. Will it play out as he likes? I think anybody who watches global affairs will say probably not to a tee, not how he wants.
But I think that message is what he wants out there at least to start things. And then the real work happening behind the scenes, laying the groundwork for that this week.
And one other final point I have to say on the vaccines that's important here. The president is using these meetings, using the G-7 really to leverage the global effort, particularly on the Western side of things.
Making clear it's not just the U.S. that's buying and donating 500 million doses. He expects the other countries in the G-7 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, months, and even years.
CABRERA: Gloria, as Biden is reaching out and trying to show the strength of these western democracies and the strength of democracy as it is, itself.
You know, given what is happening back at home, the big lie, the fact that one party in America largely believes that the election was stolen, that, you know, that same party is now moving to make voting more difficult in the U.S.
What message is he sending? Are there mixed messages right now that allies are receiving? BORGER: Yes, I think -- I think there are. And I think that's a huge
challenge for him. Because Biden believes he can do an awful lot through personal diplomacy.
These leaders, as you point out, see what's going on in this country.
Biden talks about American values. They see that his election is being challenged. They see the insurrection on January 6th. And they worry that nationalism could, in fact, take over in the United States.
So Biden is trying to say, no, no, no, here is where we are.
But it is -- it is a mixed message. And I think there are going to be lots of leaders questioning this.
And leaders have changed. He knows some of them. Some of them, he doesn't.
And I think it makes his job much more difficult because, when you used to talk about American values, America's commitment to democracy, et cetera, et cetera, it was kind of a given.
At this point, given what's going on in this country, there are going to be lots of leaders questioning that and questioning just what the future of this country will be, particularly vis-a-vis voting and free and fair elections.
CABRERA: Yes, yes.
Thank you so much, Gloria Borger, Phil Mattingly and Dr. Celine Gounder. I really appreciate all of you for being with us.
This is the end of the first real full day of the president's visit now to Europe. And he'll go into the G-7 summit moving forward tomorrow.
Thank you all for being with us today. I'll see you back here tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
The news continues next with Alisyn and Victor. Stay right there.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us on NEWSROOM. I'm Alisyn Camerota.