US will donate 500 million Pfizer doses to other countries: reports
The Biden administration plans to buy 500 million additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to donate to other countries, according to multiple reports.
Biden is expected to announce the plans during the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in the United Kingdom this week, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. The president told reporters earlier in the day that he would announce a global vaccine strategy during the trip.
According to The New York Times, the 500 million doses would be sent to about 100 countries over the next year, with 200 million doses sent this year and the remaining 300 million being distributed by mid-2022.
Asked about Biden’s plans aboard Air Force One on Wednesday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan declined to offer specifics but said Biden on Thursday would discuss steps the U.S. is taking to send more vaccines abroad.
“I do not want to get ahead of the president, who will be speaking to this issue tomorrow and will be able to talk about additional steps the United States is taking to help donate more doses to poor countries around the world and also to leverage what the United States is doing to help get the world’s democracies to increase their commitment to supplying vaccines to the developing world to help end this pandemic once and for all,” Sullivan told reporters.
Sullivan also said the G-7 would make a “combined announcement” on a comprehensive plan that includes but is not limited to vaccines.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting the summit in Cornwall, made clear over the weekend he plans to urge G-7 leaders to commit to vaccinating the global population by the end of 2022.
The World Health Organization has said it will take roughly 11 billion vaccine doses to vaccinate 70 percent of the global population.
Biden has been under pressure to do more to boost the global vaccine supply, particularly as more dangerous COVID-19 variants circulate. His planned commitment of 500 million doses could increase pressure on other G-7 members to make their own commitments to bring the world closer to that goal.
The donation of 500 million doses of Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine would build significantly on the contributions the White House has already announced to end the pandemic.
The White House last week said it would send 80 million doses to countries in need by the end of June, and 25 million of them as soon as possible. Seventy-five percent of doses are going to COVAX, the World Health Organization-backed vaccine initiative convened to vaccinate poorer countries, while the White House is sharing 25 percent directly with nations of its choosing.
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