US President Joe Biden will announce that the United States has purchased 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine to donate to 92 low-income countries and the African Union.
Biden is expected to announce the donation in the coming days at the Group of Seven summit in Britain. The doses will be distributed through the global vaccine alliance known as Covax, with 200 million to share this year and the remaining 300 million to be donated in the first half of 2022, according to the person, who confirmed the report under on condition of anonymity. .
The United States is under increasing pressure to step up its vaccine sharing efforts as needs across the country begin to decline and more Americans are vaccinated. The administration had previously announced that it would distribute 80 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the month, but this new commitment represents a six-fold increase.
The first allocation of these 80 million doses, a tranche of 25 million, will go mainly to countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia and Africa.
Vaccine inequality has become an increasingly pressing concern, and the World Health Organization has warned of a “two-way pandemic” as rich countries inoculate large parts of their populations and developing countries are exposed to the ravages of the coronavirus.
In a June 3 report, Oxfam International said that of the 1.77 billion doses administered worldwide at that time, 28% had gone to people in G7 countries and only 0.3% to low income countries. Such a disparity could prolong the pandemic and allow dangerous variants to emerge as the virus continues to spread.
People familiar with the Pfizer deal said the United States would pay for the doses at a “not-for-profit” price. The first 200 million doses will be distributed by the end of this year, followed by 300 million by next June, they said. The doses will be distributed through Covax, the international vaccine sharing initiative.