The United States wants to accelerate vaccination globally and ensure equitable distribution of vaccines. The government has formalized a plan to donate 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine.
US President Joe Biden to announce on Thursday the US purchase of 500 million doses of Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to donate to other countries in need, said the White House, confirming press reports.
“This is the largest vaccine order and donation made by a single country, and a commitment by the American people to help protect populations around the world against Covid-19,” said the US executive, in qualifying this announcement, which had leaked Wednesday in the American media, “historic action”.
These vaccines will be distributed to “92 countries” underprivileged through the Covax system, set up to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines around the world.
They will start shipping in August, with 200 million doses delivered by the end of the year. The other 300 million will be delivered by June 2022, the White House said in a statement. All these doses will be produced in American factories.
Joe Biden is due to make the announcement while on the road to the UK, his first overseas as president. The Democratic leader, who is working to demonstrate that “the United States is back” on the international stage, will attend the G7 summit in Cornwall at the weekend, where the management of the pandemic will be among the priority topics of discussion .
Washington has come under heavy criticism in recent months for delaying sharing its vaccines with the rest of the world. But with nearly 64% of American adults having now received at least one dose, the White House is now trying to take the lead on this issue.
“Arsenal of vaccines”
“President Biden has been clear, borders cannot hold this pandemic at bay, and he has promised that our nation will be the great arsenal of vaccines,” the executive said Thursday.
The United States also gave Covax $ 2 billion, the White House recalled.
But this announcement considerably extends the previous commitments made by the American president.
The United States had so far announced that it would donate 80 million doses of anti-Covid vaccines to foreign countries by the end of June. This is 60 million doses of AstraZeneca, the rest being a combination of vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer.
Earlier this month, Washington said 75% of those 80 million doses would be distributed through Covax. The remaining 25% are intended for countries facing outbreaks of the epidemic or partners of the United States.
On Thursday, the White House tenant also plans to call on other countries to help with the effort by also providing doses.
As rich countries have taken vaccines by storm, Covax is failing to operate at full capacity. As of June 4, the device had delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 countries and territories. Much less than expected.
“We need 250 million additional doses by September, and 100 million doses in June and July alone,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday before the announcement of Mr. Biden. “This weekend, the leaders of the G7 countries will meet for their annual summit. These seven nations have the power to achieve these goals, ”he called.
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