Science

U.S. will boost global vaccine-sharing, President Biden announces

U.S. will boost global vaccine-sharing, President Biden announces”

On May 18, President Biden said the USA is increasing its planned global donation from 60 million AstraZeneca vaccines to 80 million by adding 20 million doses of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson and Johnson jabs. The administration says 25% will be kept in reserve for emergencies and for the U.S.to share directly with allies and partners.

Now, the remaining 6 million doses will be sent directly by the United States to the countries it has prioritized. "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", Biden said.

In addition to the Biden administration's plans to begin sharing doses it bought, Pfizer and Moderna have both begun filling worldwide orders from US plants that previously supplied only the USA government.

"We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions".

Warning of a "two-track recovery", the World Health Organization is urging wealthy countries to donate their surplus doses to poorer countries instead of giving them to less vulnerable groups, such as children.

To do that, the administration will pursue several additional measures beyond their robust funding for Covax: Donating from the USA vaccine supply to the world and encouraging other nations to do the same, working with United States manufacturers to increase vaccine production for the rest of the world, and help more countries expand their own capacity to produce vaccines, including through support for global supply chains. "We're not extorting. We're not imposing conditions, the way that other countries who are providing doses are doing".

Harris is set to meet with the leaders of Mexico and Guatemala next week on a trip through the region.

The long-awaited vaccine sharing plan comes as demand for shots in the USA has dropped significantly - more than 63% of adults have received at least one dose - and as global inequities in supply have become more pronounced. For doses shared through COVAX, the United States will prioritize Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa, in coordination with the African Union.

Besides this, India is to get a share of the 6 million doses that will go to countries that have seen a surge in covid, Biden said.

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The United States will share vaccines in service of ending the pandemic globally.

Philanthropist Bill Gates said: "High-income countries have reserved more vaccines than they need".

Biden said that the remaining six million doses of the initial 25 million will be shared directly with countries experiencing surges or that are in crisis, as well as with partners and neighbors like Canada, Mexico and South Korea.

The doses, which were produced in the United States, have been held up, unable to be exported, because the AstraZeneca vaccine is still being reviewed by the US' Food and Drug Administration.

As vaccine demand wanes at home, Biden is facing calls internationally to release the American stockpile of shots made by Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson in order to curb the rise of coronavirus variants against which existing vaccines might provide less protection.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said via Twitter that Harris had informed him before the White House announcement of the decision to send 1 million doses of the single jab Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He stated "I expressed to her our appreciation in the name of the people of Mexico", in his Tweet.

Some have criticized the administration for the delay in announcing the plans, as Biden had first hinted the USA would share vaccines in March, before announcing the 80 million number in May.

As part of its purchase agreements with drug manufacturers, the USA controlled the initial production by its domestic manufacturers. The country is expected to soon grant approval to Pfizer and Moderna as it aims to bolster its dwindling vaccination drive.



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