The US is setting out to help vaccinate the rest of the world as the Biden Administration purchases 500 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine with the intent of giving them to other countries that are struggling with their vaccination effort.
President Biden is headed to the G-7 summit in the United Kingdom next week where he is expected to discuss his plan to distribute the coronavirus vaccine to the rest of the world.
The vaccine is center stage at the G-7 Summit
The issue of leveling the playing field when it comes to the coronavirus vaccine will take center stage at the impending G-7 Summit. As the US appears to cautiously recover, with over half the adult population receiving at least one dose of the vaccine, other parts of the world are still ravaged by COVID-19 and its variants, as well as a dearth of vaccines — less than two percent of adults in Africa have received even a first dose.
Although neither the White House nor Pfizer have commented, sources close to the plan expect the US Commander-in-Chief to engage the urgent topic immediately at the summit with his new plan to buy and distribute 500 million doses.
Biden: 80 million vaccine doses will already be distributed by the end of this month
The US leader has previously said that America would try to distribute 80 million doses of the vaccine by the end of June. He has faced increasing pressure from the rest of the world to enhance his support for countries with low vaccination rates and a surge in cases of COVID variants, like India.
Most of the 80 million doses will be going through the COVAX program. One quarter of the US’ excess doses will be kept in abeyance, however, in order to deal with emergencies and to be shared directly with its allies and partners, according to officials.
Approximately six million of the initial 19 million of the COVAX doses will be headed for Central and South America, while seven million are targeted for Asia and five million to Africa.
“As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, the American people will still be vulnerable,” Biden said in a statement on Thursday.
“And the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.”
The doses mark a substantial boost to the lagging COVAX campaign, which so far has administered only 76 million inoculations worldwide to those in need.
The announcement came just after World Health Organization (WHO) officials in Africa made a renewed request for vaccines as the continent experiences an alarming surge in the virus. Shipments of vaccines to Africa has “ground to a near halt,” according to a report from the Associated Press, while coronavirus cases are spiking once again.