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Factsheet: Joint Update by the Department of State and the Department of Health and Human Services on Negotiations Toward a Pandemic Accord

What is the Pandemic Accord?

In December 2021, World Health Organization (WHO) Member States decided at a Special Session of the World Health Assembly to establish an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB), representing all regions of the world, to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement, or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. More information about the INB process can be found here .

Why is the United States participating in these negotiations?

Pandemic preparedness was a day one priority for the Biden-Harris Administration and the United States remains committed to concluding an ambitious Pandemic Accord and amended International Health Regulations by the May 2024 deadline. For more than two decades, the United States has been the largest contributor to efforts to improve public health and other medical capabilities globally, because infectious disease outbreaks can occur anywhere and these capabilities are critical to lowering the risk that an outbreak can become a pandemic and affect all of us. U.S. national security and prosperity depends on all countries being prepared to prevent biological events when possible and to rapidly detect and respond to emerging infectious disease threats when they occur. Unfortunately, that’s not currently the case.

Detecting infectious disease threats quickly, and sharing that information widely, is critical to limiting global transmission, and to rapidly developing necessary diagnostics, vaccines, treatments, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other countermeasures to mitigate adverse health effects. Once available, facilitating equitable domestic and global access to medical countermeasures is the best way to minimize global morbidity and mortality, as well as reduce the economic and other disruptions that we have experienced in previous pandemics. Collectively, these actions will make the United States, and the world, safer from the risk posed by the spread of harmful pathogens.

The United States is seeking the following key outcomes in the negotiations:

  1. Enhance the capacity of countries around the world to prevent, prepare for, and respond to pandemic emergencies and provide clear, credible, consistent information to their citizens.
  2. Ensure that all countries share data and laboratory samples from emerging outbreaks quickly, safely, and transparently to facilitate response efforts and inform public health decision making regarding effective disease control measures, including the rapid creation of safe and effective vaccines, diagnostic tests, and treatments.
  3. Support more equitable and timely access to, and delivery of, vaccines, diagnostic tests, treatments, and other mitigation measures to quickly contain outbreaks, reduce illness and death, and minimize impacts on the economic and national security of people around the world.

What actions does the United States support in the Pandemic Accord, in order to ensure the world can respond more effectively in the next pandemic?

The negotiations are ongoing, and WHO Member States, including the United States, have not yet agreed on the language in a final agreement. However, the United States has brought solutions to the table in these negotiations, including:

  • Support for an access and benefits sharing system that pairs strong commitments to share information, pathogen samples, and genetic sequence data before and during a pandemic and contractual commitments from manufacturers participating in the system to set aside a dedicated percentage of production for equitable distribution during pandemics.
  • Support for a stronger systems of voluntary technology transfer, as well as new voluntary schemes to promote and facilitate sustainable manufacturing, while protecting incentives for innovation, which proved so critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forced or coercive transfer of technology and know-how is ineffective and impractical.
  • Support for sharing the outputs from publicly funded research, especially during emergencies, and indeed the United States already requires sharing of publications from U.S. government funded research.
  • Support for strengthening and expanding research capacities for addressing pathogens with pandemic potential, in accordance with appropriate biosafety and biosecurity measures, and taking steps that will enable both more rapid and higher quality research during responses that provide critical evidence to inform decision making.
  • Support the development of a coordination mechanism that would promote harmonization and coordination for financing prevention, preparedness, and response as the means of aligning existing funding mechanisms with the Accord and amended International Health Regulations, while underscoring that the coordination mechanism will operate across a variety of financing sources. The United States also supports utilizing surge financing commitments in the early stages of a pandemic (see more on U.S. actions to support surge financing here).
  • Continued commitment to work with other countries through the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization to address issues related to intellectual property. Intellectual property is a critical cornerstone of innovation and provides a strong incentive for medical countermeasures development, especially in pandemics.

What is the United States doing to expand access to medicines for people living around the world?

Like every nation’s leaders, the Biden-Harris Administration’s most fundamental responsibility is to protect the American people. To do that, we must secure the United States against the next pandemic by working with other countries to help detect threats as soon as they emerge, contain those threats at their source, and respond quickly to mitigate the impact of future biological incidents on the global and U.S. healthcare, educational and economic systems.

In a future pandemic, we will ensure that all Americans have access to the vaccines, tests and treatments they need. Additionally, by working to make vaccines and treatments available as early as possible in the next pandemic for the highest risk populations, wherever they are in the world, we can save lives and reduce the risk of new variants emerging elsewhere that can threaten American lives.

We are taking steps to develop a more efficient and predictable process for financing global vaccines in the next pandemic, which will mean:

  • Leveraging pre-negotiated purchasing agreements to enable a more rapid start to donations of vaccines and other countermeasures when needed;
  • Negotiating more favorable pricing before and during the next pandemic; and
  • Benefitting American companies — by more clearly communicating demand for their products, companies will have more reliable order volume at the beginning of a pandemic emergency as well as access to new markets.

The United States is leveraging its purchasing power to facilitate rapid production, distribution and administration of vaccines for Americans, as well as those living around the world, in order to limit the spread of future pandemic pathogens, and mitigate their impact, resulting in lower risk to Americans and the world in the next pandemic.

The most effective and sustainable way to increase manufacturing capacity for vaccines and other medical countermeasures is by expanding local manufacturing of routine health products, as well as facilitating and incentivizing demand for and procurement of those locally-manufactured products, in order to maintain a true warm base that can be shifted to producing pandemic-specific products when needed. More information on United States actions to expand access to medical countermeasures globally is available here.


The United States’ positions in these negotiations are built upon decades of commitments and investments in enhancing global health systems. If included in the final negotiations, they would make a meaningful difference across all regions, spurring cooperation, incentivizing participation and moving us well beyond the status quo. We are hopeful that all countries will demonstrate a shared commitment to progress through these negotiations.