Media CenterOn COVID-19 Summit, CRS applauds U.S. leadership but calls for a detailed global strategy for vaccine rollout

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Nikki Gamer
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(978) 884-0003

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, Sept. 22, 2021 – Bill O’Keefe, Catholic Relief Services’ executive vice president of Mission, Mobilization and Advocacy, issued the following statement in response to the administration’s pledge during the COVID-19 Summit to vaccinate at least 70% of the global population by September 2022.

“During his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, the President called for unity—especially with regards to confronting global challenges like COVID-19. Indeed, we cannot defeat a global pandemic without a global response.

We fully endorse the administration’s commitment to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population by September of next year. However, this ambitious goal can only be achieved if the U.S. does much more to lead a holistic response to this global pandemic.

First, the U.S. and other wealthier nations need to deliver on their initial promises. It’s unacceptable that only 15% of the promised vaccine donations from wealthier nations have materialized in low-income countries. Higher-income countries must give up their place in line to guarantee a speedy delivery to the countries that need the vaccines the most.

Second, we need a concrete and transparent plan that gets specific about the nuts and bolts of the vaccine rollout. Such a strategy must address everything from vaccine production, delivery and deadlines to vaccine distribution, training, and public messaging. Vaccine hesitancy, disinformation, and access are among our top concerns in the 110 countries where we work.  We’re also extremely concerned that local health systems in low-income countries cannot handle such large vaccine rollouts without significant additional support.

We need to do better, and we can do better. Millions of lives around the world and in our own country hang in the balance.”

**To access CRS’ full COVID-19 vaccine equity policy brief, click here.

**To read CRS’ sign-on to the U.S.G.L.C’s letter to the administration, click here.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Tags: Advocacy
Nikki Gamer

Senior Public Affairs Manager

Nikki Gamer
September 22, 2021

Based in Baltimore, MD

Nikki is the Senior Public Affairs Manager for CRS and connects journalists to regional stories and sources related to the agency’s life-saving development work. Previously, Nikki worked as the Communications Officer for the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia. She has covered CRS’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the mass displacement...More