U.S. Embassy Kampala | March 5, 2021
(as prepared for delivery Entebbe International Airport, Uganda)
Entebbe, UGANDA — On behalf of the United States, I am honored to join Minister Aceng and other officials from the Government of Uganda, as well as my colleagues from the WHO, European Union, the United Kingdom and many other countries as Uganda receives its first allotment of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility.
The quick spread of this horrible disease from country to country showed how interconnected we all are and the strong presence here today from the Uganda government and the international community reinforces that a global challenge like COVID-19 requires a global response. That is why we are here today, in a spirit of cooperation, working together with Uganda and international partners.
To emphasize this point, just this week, Secretary of State Blinken said, “the United states recognizes that none of us will be fully safe until the majority of the world is immune. To beat COVID, we need governments, scientists, businesses, and communities around the world working together. So we need to work closely with partners to keep the global vaccination effort moving forward.”
To help reach this goal, the United States contributed 2 billion dollars to the COVAX Facility so far and has committed a further 2 billion dollars to the effort to provide safe, effective vaccines to people around the world. I am pleased today to see the concrete impact of this global effort.
As we fight COVID today, we need to make sure we learn the right lessons and make the right investments in global health security, including tools to predict, prevent, and stop pandemics, and a firm global commitment to share accurate and timely information, so that a crisis like this never happens again.
This is what the United States has been doing for decades in cooperation with Uganda to address global health challenges such as HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and more recently Ebola. Because of those investments — as well as 43 million dollars to support Uganda’s efforts to combat COVID-19 — and because of decades of cooperation, today millions of Ugandans are living healthier lives and participating more fully in their communities.
Today is a momentous day in the effort to beat back this virus, but we know that much work remains ahead of us. That’s why the United States will continue to support Uganda in the weeks and months ahead, until COVID is brought under control. Until then, please wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing.