Washington: President Joe Biden plans to announce on Thursday that the US will purchase and donate half a billion (50 crore) doses of Pfizer vaccines to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries and the African Union in a historic action that will help supercharge the global fight against the pandemic, according to the White House.
This is the largest-ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country and a commitment by the American people to help protect people around the world from COVID-19, the White House said ahead of the announcement by Biden at the G-7 Summit in the UK.
Biden has arrived in the UK on his maiden official overseas trip to Europe.
“Biden will also call on the world’s democracies to do their parts in contributing to the global supply of safe and effective vaccines. The goal of today’s donation is to save lives and end the pandemic and will provide the foundation for additional actions to be announced in the coming days,” the White House said.
The vaccines will start shipping in August 2021. A total of 200 million doses will be delivered by the end of this year and the remaining 300 million will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
The US will allocate these doses to low- and lower-middle-income nations around the world, working through COVAX to deliver them, the White House said.
COVAX is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization.
The historic announcement by Biden comes on the heels of his donation of at least 80 million vaccines from the United States’ supply by the end of June.
Additionally, the United States has contributed USD two billion to COVAX, more than any other nation—and is supporting local production capacity abroad for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, including through the Quad initiative, said the White House.
“Biden has been clear that borders cannot keep this pandemic at bay and has vowed that our nation will be the arsenal of vaccines. The historic step the President will announce today, therefore, protects the health of the American people and the people throughout the world who will benefit from these life-saving vaccines,” it said.
The White House said the announcement will provide mRNA vaccines that have proven to be highly effective against COVID-19, including against all known variants.
Tens of millions of Americans have benefited from these safe and effective vaccines and this historic donation will bring the life-saving benefits these vaccines provide to some of the most vulnerable populations around the world.
Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal welcomed the announcement.
“I applaud President Biden’s momentous decision to provide 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to dozens of nations in need — including India, Brazil, and other places where COVID-19 is surging,” she said in a statement.
“By doing so, we are not only taking a critical step in unleashing the resources necessary to defeat this deadly virus abroad, but we are protecting people at home while restoring our place as a global leader and international partner.
“At the heart of today’s announcement is a powerful recognition that whether you live in America or around the world, your future is intertwined with mine — that we are all better off when we are all better off,” the Democratic lawmaker said.
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