The United States is ready to donate 25 million initial doses of surplus coronavirus vaccines abroad through the United Nations-backed COVAX program, announced President Joe Biden.
“As long as this pandemic continues anywhere in the world, the American people will remain vulnerable,” said the American leader. said in a statement Thursday.
“And the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home,” he said.
The doses, which will be shipped from federal vaccine stocks Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, will be in addition to 76 million doses already distributed under the COVAX initiative to countries with shortage of vaccine supplies.
The 25 million injections are also part of a White House offer to share up to 80 million doses globally by the end of June, primarily through the COVAX program.
At least 75 percent of the 25 million doses will be shared through COVAX, Biden said, “including approximately 6 million doses for Latin America and the Caribbean, approximately 7 million for South and Southeast Asia, and approximately 5 million for Africa, working in coordination with the African Union and the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ”
“The remaining doses, just over 6 million, will be shared directly with countries experiencing surges, those in crisis and other partners and neighbors, including Canada, Mexico, India and the Republic of Korea,” said the president of USA.
Biden’s announcement came shortly after World Health Organization officials in Africa called for vaccine sharing after shipments dried up almost completely amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Vaccine doses are expected to reach Africa, Asia, South and Central America, and elsewhere.
However, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the United States would “keep its voice” on the fate of the doses distributed through COVAX, according to The Associated Press.
However, he also said: “We are not seeking to obtain concessions, we are not extorting money, we are not imposing conditions as other countries that are providing doses are doing.”
“These are doses that are being given, donated free and clear to these countries, with the sole purpose of improving the public health situation and helping end the pandemic,” Sullivan said.
Biden shared that sentiment in his own statement, stating that the United States is “sharing these vaccines to save lives and lead the world to end the pandemic, with the power of our example and with our values.”
The long-awaited effort to share vaccines comes as the demand for injections in the US has declined, and more than 63% of adults in the US have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
A number of countries have requested doses from the US, but so far, only Canada and Mexico have received a combined total of around 4.5 million doses.
The US contribution will mean that “front-line workers and populations at risk will receive vaccines that can save lives” and will bring the international community “one step closer to ending the acute phase of the pandemic,” he said. Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, which leads the COVAX alliance, said, according to AP.
However, Tom Hart, Acting Executive Director of The ONE Campaign, said that ultimately the United States would have to commit to sharing more vaccine doses with the rest of the world.
“The world is looking to the United States for global leadership, and more ambition is needed,” he said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism