The United States is set to significantly increase the amount of Covid-19 vaccines it will ship to foreign nations beginning in 2022 in an effort to end the pandemic worldwide, the White House announced Wednesday.
As part of a virtual Covid-19 summit on the margins of the UN General Assembly, President Joe Biden will announce that the US is purchasing an additional 500 million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to donate to low- and lower-middle-income countries around the world, a senior administration official said, previewing the summit. The newly announced 500 million doses are on top of the 500 million the US had already committed to sharing with other nations.
Those vaccines will begin shipping out in January, and from January through September of next year, the US will ship out 800 million vaccines to the world, the official said. These vaccines bring the United States total to over 1.1 billion vaccines donated to other countries.
“The President’s strategy from day one has been to take care of Americans and to help vaccinate the world, and that’s why even as we mounted an unprecedented domestic vaccination program here, we purchased 500 million vaccine doses for the sole purpose of giving them to others,” the official said, adding that the US will now double that commitment even as the country continues to vaccinate Americans and prepare for potential booster shots.
The official said that the additional 500 million vaccines will be purchased at a not-for-profit price and will be distributed through Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, the global vaccination program known as COVAX.
“We’re proving that you can take care of your own, while helping others as well. We can and we must do both,” the official said.
The summit will consist of heads of state, leaders from international organizations, the private sector, philanthropies, nongovernmental organizations and other partners from around the world, according to the administration official, who said there are more than 100 countries and 100 organizations participating. The summit will contain four distinct sessions and is expected to last more than four hours with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris both chairing a session.
“The President will call on world leaders to elevate the global level of ambition to end the Covid pandemic in 2022 and to build back better health security to prevent and prepare for future pandemics,” the official said.
Biden will call on world leaders in all sectors to focus on specific areas in order to help end the pandemic, including vaccinating the world in an equitable and efficient manner and saving lives now by working to solve the global oxygen crisis and making tests and therapeutics more available.
The White House sent those participating in the summit a list of “deliberately ambitious” goals and targets, which will be released afterward.
“We need to align around common goals and targets to hold ourselves and the world accountable for collective action to end the pandemic, and obviously to prepare for the next,” the official said.
CNN has previously reported on some of the targets expected to be set at Wednesday’s summit, including urging world leaders to collectively commit to vaccinating 70% of the world’s population against Covid-19 within a year and calling on nations to ensure $3 billion is available this year and $7 billion in 2022, for “financing for vaccine readiness and administration, combating hesitancy, and procuring ancillary supplies.”
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