Biden outlines plan to quickly share 25 mln COVID-19 vaccines with world

Friday, 2021-06-04 13:29:27
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The 25 million doses would be delivered quickly, with some going out as soon as Thursday, the White House said.
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The White House laid out a plan for the United States to share 25 million surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world, with the first shots shipping as soon as Thursday, and said it would ease other countries' access to US-made supplies for vaccine production.

President Joe Biden said the United States would give the vaccines without expectation of political favors in return. The dose shipments are the first of some 80 million COVID-19 vaccines that Biden has pledged to provide internationally this month as concern grows about the huge disparity in vaccination rates between advanced economies and developing countries.

The United States will donate nearly 19 million doses through the COVAX international vaccine-sharing program, Biden said in a statement. Through COVAX, some 6 million doses would go to Latin America and the Caribbean, about 7 million doses to South and Southeast Asia and roughly 5 million to Africa.

The remaining doses, amounting to just over 6 million, would go directly from the United States to countries including Canada, Mexico, India and South Korea (the Republic of Korea), he said.

"We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions," Biden said. "We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic, with the power of our example and with our values."

Although the United States is working through COVAX co-run by the World Health Organization, the White House retains final say in which countries receive US doses and how many, said national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

The White House will base donation decisions on "factors included achieving global coverage, responding to crises ... and helping as many countries as possible," Sullivan said, adding the United States intends to prioritize its neighbors, including Canada, Mexico and countries in Central and South America.

Reuters reported last month that the United States was considering prioritizing its own hemisphere, with Latin America a beneficiary.

The 25 million doses would be delivered quickly, with some going out as soon as Thursday, the White House said.

For months, the White House remained focused on getting Americans vaccinated as the coronavirus killed more than half a million people in the United States. But Biden promised the United States would become a supplier and send abroad at least 20 million doses of the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, on top of some 60 million AstraZeneca Plc doses he had already planned to donate.

The 25 million doses Biden announced on Thursday will not include supply from AstraZeneca, the White House said.

International organizations including the United Nations and the World Bank welcomed the announcement. "It’s a good start, and I am hoping that more doses will be made available," World Bank President David Malpass said.