“This is the largest vaccine order and donation made by a single country”, Washington rejoiced. In a press release, Thursday, June 10, the White House confirmed the purchase by the United States of 500 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine against Covid-19, in order to donate them to countries in the need.
These vaccines will be distributed “To 92 countries” disadvantaged through the Covax program, set up to ensure an equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. They will be sent from August; 200 million doses delivered by the end of the year. The other 300 million will be delivered by June 2022, the White House said. All of these doses will be produced in American factories.
” It’s about (…) a commitment by the American people to contribute to the protection of populations around the world against Covid-19 ”, underlined Washington, by qualifying this announcement, which had leaked, Wednesday, in several American media, of“Historic action”.
United States President Joe Biden is due to make the announcement while on the road to the UK, his first overseas as head of state. The Democratic leader, who strives to demonstrate that “The United States is back” on the international scene, will participate in the weekend of the Group of Seven (G7) in Cornwall, where the management of the pandemic will be one of the priority topics of discussion.
“He promised that our nation would be the great arsenal of vaccines”
Washington has come under heavy criticism in recent months for delaying sharing its vaccines with the rest of the world. With nearly 64% of American adults having now received at least one dose, the White House is now trying to take the lead on this issue.
“President Biden has been clear, borders cannot hold this pandemic at bay and he has promised that our nation will be the great arsenal of vaccines”, the executive said on Thursday. The United States also gave Covax $ 2 billion, the White House recalled.
But the announcement significantly expands previous commitments made by Mr. Biden. The United States had so far announced that it would donate 80 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to foreign countries by the end of June. This is 60 million doses of AstraZeneca, the rest being a combination of vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.
The Covax program struggles
At the beginning of June, Washington explained that 75% of the 80 million doses would be distributed by the Covax device. The remaining 25% is intended for countries facing outbreaks of the epidemic or partners of the United States. On Thursday, the White House tenant also plans to call on other countries to help with the effort by also providing doses.
As rich countries have taken vaccines by storm, Covax is failing to operate at full capacity. As of June 4, the device had delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 countries and territories – far less than expected.
“We need 250 million more doses by September and 100 million doses in June and July alone”, said Monday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, before the announcement of Mr. Biden. “This weekend, the leaders of the G7 countries will meet for their annual summit. These seven nations have the power to achieve these goals ”, he had called.