U.S. President Joe Biden has announced a donation from 500 million dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the world’s poorest countries to help speed up the end of the pandemic, without “any rope.”
Biden, eager to burn his multilateral credentials on his first trip abroad as a leader, on Thursday declared the donation a bold move that showed the U.S. recognized its responsibility to the world and its own citizens.
“The United States provides these 1 billion doses without strings. There is no rope, “Biden said, speaking alongside Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla in the English coastal town of Carbis Bay before G7 summit.
“Our vaccine donations do not include pressure to obtain potential favors or concessions. We are doing it to save lives, to end this pandemic, and that’s it, “he said.
The US commitment is to buy and donate 500 million doses of Pfizer to distribute worldwide COVAX alliance with 92 low-income countries and the African Union.
Biden had faced growing pressure to outline his global plan to share vaccines, especially when inequalities in supply around the world have become more pronounced and the demand for gunfire in the US fallen hastily in recent weeks.
“Our vision is very strong that, given the lack of coverage around the world, it is absolutely critical to make a big move like this to get more vaccines into the system as quickly as possible,” said Gayle Smith, COVID’s global coordinator at the state of the United States. Department.
“These vaccines will be available from August, although we are withdrawing the 80 million doses that have already been announced,” he said during a press conference on Thursday.
Officials said the goal is to distribute 200 million doses by the end of the year. The remaining 300 million doses would be shipped in the first half of 2022.
To date, COVAX has distributed only 81 million doses and parts of the world, mostly in Africa, have not yet received any shipments.
Several countries in Central and South America, where cases of COVID-19 have occurred getting up again, have not yet made any significant progress in their vaccination campaigns.
Last week, Biden announced a plan to share 25 million “surplus” dose of vaccine. The White House said most doses would be channeled to COVAX, while about six million doses would go directly to countries.
After leading the world in new cases and deaths for much of last year, the rapid vaccination program in the United States now places it among the leaders in global recovery.
Almost 64 percent of adults in the U.S. have received at least one dose of vaccine and the average number of new positive and dead cases in the U.S. is now lower than at any time since the early days of the pandemic.
The anti-poverty campaign group Oxfam welcomed the announcement and called for more to be done to increase global vaccine production.
“Sure, these 500 million doses of vaccine are welcome, as they will help more than 250 million people, but that’s still a drop compared to the need around the world,” said Niko Lusiani, head of the vaccine. of Oxfam America.
“We need a transformation towards more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers around the world can produce billions of lower doses on their own terms, without intellectual property restrictions,” Lusiani said in a statement. .
Another obstacle, especially in some poor countries, is the infrastructure for transporting vaccines, which often have to be stored at very cold temperatures.