Feb. 19 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden met for the first time Friday with the heads of the Group of Seven nations in a virtual meeting, at which he pledged billions to an international effort to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
Biden attended the meeting via video conference on Friday morning, along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
During the conference, Biden committed $2 billion to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and COVAX, the White House said.
COVAX -- which is led by GAVI, the World Health Organization and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations -- was created to speed up development of COVID-19 vaccines and guarantee fair and equitable access around the world.
Biden's administration also pledged an additional $2 billion to the global effort through 2021 and 2022. The first $500 million will become available when existing donor pledges are fulfilled and initial doses are delivered, the White House said.
The administration said the actions "reaffirm U.S. commitment to global health security."
The White House said Biden also urged G7 partners to prioritize key health financing to fight the coronavirus pandemic and prevent the next crisis.
Later Friday, Biden is scheduled to travel to Michigan to visit a facility that manufactures the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech.
The White House said Biden will travel to the plant in Kalamazoo early Friday afternoon. There, he will tour the facility and speak with workers. He will make public remarks at about 3 p.m. EST before returning to Washington, D.C.
Biden traveled to Wisconsin earlier this week to participate in a town hall event, where he answered questions about coronavirus concerns from residents in Milwaukee.