WASHINGTON (AP) – The US will buy 500 million more doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine over the next year to be distributed through the global COVAX alliance for donation to 92 low-income countries and the African Union, one with the matter said familiar person Wednesday.
President Joe Biden was due to make the announcement Thursday in a speech to the beginning of the Group of Seven Summit. Two hundred million doses – enough to fully protect 100 million people – would be shared this year, with the rest to be donated in the first half of 2022, the person said.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Wednesday that Biden pledged to share vaccines because it was in the public health and strategic interests of the US. When Biden starts his first trip abroad, he wants to show that “democracies are the countries that can do it”. Delivering the best solutions to people everywhere, ”said Sullivan.
“As he said in his joint session (address), we were the ‘arsenal of democracy’ in World War II,” said Sullivan. “We will be the ‘arsenal of vaccines’ in the near future to help end the pandemic.”
The news of the Pfizer sharing plan was confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity prior to the President’s formal announcement. The news was first reported by the Washington Post.
The US is facing increasing pressure to draft its global vaccine sharing plan. Supply inequalities have become more apparent around the world, and demand for syringes in the US – where nearly 64% of adults received at least one dose – has plummeted.
The announcement comes a week after the White House announced its plans to donate an initial allotment of 25 million doses of surplus vaccine overseas, primarily through the United Nations-backed COVAX program, which provides infusions for South and Central America, Asia, Africa and other countries promise a time of blatant want abroad.
In total, the White House has announced plans to distribute 80 million cans worldwide by the end of June, most of them through COVAX. Officials say a quarter of the nation’s surplus is being held in reserve for emergencies and for direct distribution to U.S. allies and partners.
The White House has also directed cans at allies such as South Korea, Taiwan and Ukraine.
Global public health groups set out to use the upcoming G-7 meetings in Cornwall, England to urge the country’s richest democracies to do more to share vaccines with the world, and Biden’s plans were immediately praised for this purpose.
“The Biden government’s decision to purchase and donate additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine is the kind of courageous leadership that is required to end this global pandemic,” said Tom Hart, acting CEO of The ONE Campaign. a non-profit organization that wants to end poverty. “This action sends an incredibly powerful message about America’s commitment to help the world fight this pandemic and the immense power of US global leadership.”
Sullivan told reporters on Wednesday that he does not expect the US move to abandon vaccine patents to create tension with European counterparts.
“We all agree that we need to increase vaccine supplies in several ways by sharing more of our own doses,” Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One. “We’ll have more to say about this and help create more production capacities around the world.”
Globally, there have been more than 3.7 million confirmed deaths from COVID-19 and more than 174 million people have been confirmed to be infected.