The President of the United States, Joe Biden, announced a donation of 500 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the world’s poorest countries to help accelerate the end of the pandemic, with “no rope attached”.
Biden, anxious to tarnish his multilateral credentials during his first foreign trip as leader, on Thursday gave the donation as a bold move that showed the United States has recognized its responsibility to the world and to its people. citizens.
“The United States provides these half a billion doses without strings attached. No strings attached,” Biden said, speaking alongside Pfizer executive director Albert Bourla at the British seaside resort of Carbis Bay before Summit G7.
“Our vaccine donations do not include pressure for favors, or potential concessions. We are doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic, and that’s it,” he said.
The U.S. commitment is to buy and donate 500 million doses of Pfizer for distribution around the world. COVAX alliance to 92 lower-income countries and the African Union.
Biden had come under increasing pressure to explain his global plan to share vaccines, especially as well inequity in supply around the world they have become more pronounced and the demand for coups in the United States has fell precipitously in recent weeks.
“It is our very strong vision that, given the lack of coverage in the world, it is absolutely critical to make such a big move to get more vaccines into the system as soon as possible,” said Gayle Smith, COVID’s global coordinator. the US State Department.
“These vaccines will be available starting in August, even when we push 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 will be shipped in the first half of 2022.
COVAX has so far distributed only 81 million doses and parts of the world, particularly in Africa, have not yet received shipments.
Several countries in Central and South America, where COVID-19 cases have been reported getting up, have also made some significant progress in their vaccination campaigns.
Last week, Biden announced a plan to share 25 million “surplus” vaccine doses. The White House said most of the doses will be channeled to COVAX, while about six million doses will go directly to countries.
Having led the world in nine cases and deaths in much of the past year, the rapid vaccination program in the United States now places it among the leaders of the global recovery.
Almost 64 percent of adults in the United States have received at least one dose of vaccination and the average number of new positive and fatal cases in the United States is lower now than at any point since the early days of the pandemic.
The Oxfam anti-poverty campaign group welcomed the announcement and called for more to be done to increase global vaccine production.
“Sure, these 500 million doses of vaccine are welcome because they help more than 250 million people, but it’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the need around the world,” said Niko Lusiani, head of vaccine Oxfam America .
“We need a shift towards more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers around the world can produce billions of extra doses at low prices on their own terms, without limitations of intellectual property,” Lusiani said in a statement. statement.
Another obstacle, especially in some poor countries, is the infrastructure for transporting vaccines, which often have to be stored at very cold temperatures.