Biden to Announce 500 Million More COVID Doses for Developing Countries

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to announce Wednesday the purchase of 500 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines for developing countries over the next year.

The United States had previously committed more than 500 million doses manufactured by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE to developing countries by the end of June of next year. That will be a total of 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses the U.S. is providing to the world.

“For every shot we’ve put in an American arm to date, we are donating three shots globally,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted Wednesday ahead of the announcement.

Biden is scheduled to announce the donation of the additional doses, also from Pfizer, at a virtual COVID-19 summit on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

Biden is expected to embrace the World Health Organization’s goal of vaccinating at least 70% of the world’s population within the next year and leverage the announcement to encourage other wealthier countries to escalate efforts to contain the infection.

The WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in June that reaching the goal would require 11 billion doses.

In a speech at the U.N. Tuesday, Biden touted the more than 160 million doses the U.S. has already distributed to more than 100 countries, more doses than all other nations combined.

Over the past year, more than 5.9 billion doses have been administered globally, representing about 43% of the world’s population. But enormous disparities in distribution have many lower-income countries struggling to vaccinate their most vulnerable citizens.

World leaders and global organizations are increasingly critical of the disparity and the slow pace of vaccinations. And despite America’s response, they have complained it has been inadequate – particularly as the U.S. pushes for booster shots for Americans before vulnerable people in poorer countries get their first dose.

(Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.)


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