The Biden administration is planning to buy hundreds of millions more Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses to share with the world, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
Details of the announcement were not yet clear, and White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsWhite House details plans for vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 Overnight Health Care — Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing — NIH study finds mix-and-match boosters effective More than one-third of eligible seniors have received boosters, White House says MORE declined to confirm the report or offer more details when asked during a press briefing on Friday.
The reported move comes ahead of the U.N. General Assembly next week, where boosting vaccine access in lower-income countries will be a focus. The Post reported that the White House will also be hosting a virtual summit on global vaccinations next week, alongside the meeting.
The Biden administration has been under pressure from experts and advocates to do more to help vaccinate the world.
Officials point to the 140 million vaccine doses that the U.S. has already donated, as well as the purchase already announced for over 500 million doses to be donated across this year and next.
But advocates note that is well short of the global need. In addition to donating vaccines, experts have also called for boosting global vaccine manufacturing capacity to help lower-income countries make more doses.
News of the reported announcement also comes as the U.S. is poised to move forward on booster shots domestically. A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee is meeting Friday to discuss the issue and give a recommendation.
The World Health Organization has called on wealthy countries like the U.S. to hold off on boosters until more vulnerable people in other countries have their first shots, but the Biden administration has argued it can both provide boosters at home and more shots abroad.