U.S. President Joe Biden plans to allocate 75 percent of unused COVID-19 vaccines through the United Nations-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing program, the White House said Thursday.
The White House unveiled the allocation for sharing the first 25 million doses with the world. The United States has announced plans to share 80 million doses of the vaccine globally by the end of June. The administration said 25% will be kept in reserve for emergencies and the United States will share directly with its allies and partners.
“As long as this pandemic rages anywhere in the world, the American people will always be vulnerable,” Biden said in a statement. “And the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.”
Of the first 25 million doses, the White House says about 19 million will go to COVAX, including about six million for South and Central America, seven million for Asia and five million for Africa. The doses mark a substantial – and immediate – boost to the lagging effort of COVAX, which to date has only shared 76 million doses with countries in need.
The remaining six million will be paid by the White House to allies and partners of the United States, including Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Korea, the West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Yemen, as well as frontline workers of the United Nations.
Dozens of countries have requested doses from the United States. To date, Mexico and Canada have received 4.5 million doses combined, with the United States loaning Canada 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford doses in March. The United States has also announced plans to share enough snapshots with South Korea to vaccinate its 550,000 troops serving alongside the US military on the peninsula.
The growing stockpile of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States is seen not only as a testament to American ingenuity, but also its privilege. The long-awaited vaccine-sharing plan comes as demand for vaccines in the United States has declined and global supply inequalities have become more glaring.
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Just over 50% of eligible Americans have received a dose of a vaccine, while about 41% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The two-dose vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have been widely used in the United States, although about 11 million have been fully vaccinated with the single injection product Johnson & Johnson / Janssen.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the multi-country vaccine supply initiative “Herculean,” told reporters she did not yet have a breakdown of which vaccines to export by brand. .
Some have criticized the administration for the delay in announcing the plans, as Biden first hinted that the United States would share the vaccines in March, before announcing the number of 80 million in May. Some vaccines have expiration dates as early as the end of June, it was reported by Politico.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged earlier this week that the United States would work with COVAX and “distribute vaccines without political demands from those who receive them.”
Doses of AstraZeneca to be released
The president also pledged to share 20 million doses of the existing production of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocks. It is expected that more doses will be available for sharing in the coming months.
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Under its purchasing agreements with drug manufacturers, the United States controlled the initial production of its domestic manufacturers. Pfizer and Moderna are only now starting to export vaccines produced in the United States to overseas customers. The United States has ordered hundreds of millions of additional doses, both of licensed vaccines and in development.
The White House also announced Thursday that it was lifting restrictions on sharing vaccines produced by AstraZeneca, as well as Sanofi and Novavax, which are also not permitted in the United States, allowing companies to determine for themselves where to share. their doses.
Biden has pledged to supply other countries with the 60 million domestically produced doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This vaccine has not yet been approved for use in the United States, but is widely approved around the world. Doses produced in the United States will be available for shipment once they have undergone a safety review by the Food and Drug Administration.