Joe Biden, the President of the United States, announced on Thursday that his country would rapidly donate an initial allotment of twenty-five million excess vaccine doses overseas through the United Nations (UN) – backed COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) program, promising infusions for Central and South America, Africa, Asia and others at a time of obvious shortages and over-sufficient supplies at home.
Moreover, the doses mark a significant – and abrupt – boost to the lagging COVAX effort, which to date shared just seventy-six million doses with impoverished nations. The announcement from the president came just hours after World Health Organization (WHO) officials in Africa made a new appeal for vaccine sharing because of an alarming situation on the continent, where shipments and consignments ground to a near halt while coronavirus cases spiked during the last two weeks.
WASHINGTON (AP) — White House announces global vaccine sharing program, plans to send 75% of excess doses to international alliance.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) June 3, 2021
The White House also announced plans to share eighty million doses worldwide by the June end, most through COVAX. According to officials, a quarter of the country’s excess will be kept on standby for emergencies and for America to share directly with partners and allies. Of the initial nineteen million donated vaccine doses through COVAX, around six million doses will go to Central and South America, seven million to Asia, and five million to Africa.
The White House will direct Six Million Doses to U.S. allies and Partners
Biden stated that as long as the outbreak is intense anywhere globally, Americans will still be vulnerable to the virus. Whereas the country is dedicated to bringing the same urgency to vaccination at the international level that they demonstrated at the domestic level. Jake Sullivan, the United States National Security Adviser, said that America would retain the say on where vaccine doses distributed through COVAX eventually go.
However, the president also said they are not targeting to extract businesses; they are not extorting and not imposing conditions the way that other nations who are providing doses are doing. These doses are given and donated free and clear to governments for the sole purpose of improving the public health situation, which helps to end the pandemic more quickly.
Furthermore, the White House directed the remaining six million in the initial distributions of twenty-five million to American partners and allies, including South Korea, Ukraine, Egypt, Yemen, Canada, Iraq, Yemen, Canada, Jordan, Georgia, India, Haiti, West Bank, and Gaza, as well as for frontline workers of United Nations. However, the White House didn’t say when the doses would start shipping overseas, but Hen Psaki, the press secretary, said the government expected to send them as early as it can make logistically possible.
Kamala Harris, the Vice President, informed the American allies they would start receiving vaccine doses in separate calls with Prime Minister Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago, President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala, Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Harris has plans to visit Mexico and Guatemala in the upcoming weeks.
Scores of Countries Requested Vaccine Doses from the United States
The long-awaited sharing plan of vaccine doses comes as its demand in the United States dropped significantly – over sixty-three percent of adults received at least one dose – and as international disproportions in supply become more pronounced. Many countries requested doses from the U.S., but just Canada and Mexico received a total of 4.5 million doses until now.
In the same way, the Biden government announced plans to share enough jabs with South Korea to vaccinate its fifty-five hundred thousand soldiers who serve along with American troops on the Peninsula. Jeff Zients, the coronavirus coordinator of the White House, said that they shipped one million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses to South Korea on Thursday.
The American government committed over four billion dollars to COVAX, but with short of vaccine supplies – and wealthy countries storing them – the better need than cash funding is instant supply and access to actual doses to combat what health officials long criticized as unequal access to vaccines. Moreover, the actions of the U.S. officials mean at-risk population and frontline workers will receive potentially life-saving vaccinations and bring the world one step closer to ending the severe phase of the coronavirus.
The acting CEO of the One Campaign, Tom Hart, said that while the recent announcement was an initial step, the Biden government needs to promise to share more doses with other countries in need. Further, he adds that the rest of the world is looking towards America for global leadership in supplying doses, so more ambition required from their side.
The U.S. will Ship Which Vaccine Stockpiled Doses?
According to the announcement from the White House, they will ship initial twenty-five million vaccine doses from existing federal stockpiles of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Pfizer vaccines. Whereas it expected to share more doses in the months ahead.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the President of Mexico, tweeted in the Mexican language, stating, “We speak with Vice President Kamala Harris. Before their announcement in the United States, she was kind enough to inform us of the decision to send us one million Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccines. I thanked him on behalf of the people of Mexico.”
Hablamos con la vicepresidenta Kamala Harris. Tuvo la gentileza de informarnos, antes del anuncio que hicieron en Estados Unidos, la decisión de enviarnos un millón de vacunas Johnson & Johnson de una sola dosis. Le expresé nuestro agradecimiento en nombre del pueblo de México. pic.twitter.com/uEJLdr6wlZ
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) June 3, 2021
Guatemala’s Giammattei stated that the U.S. vice president told him that the American administration would send his country five lac dose of coronavirus vaccines. In addition, the White House announced that American producers of vaccine ingredients and materials would no longer have to prioritize orders from the drug manufacturers working in coronavirus shots that have not receive approval from the United States – AstraZeneca, Sanofi, and Novavax – clearing the path for the shipment of more materials to overseas to help production there.
As part of the United States purchase contracts with the drugmakers, it controlled the preliminary production by its local manufacturers. Moderna and Pfizer vaccine manufacturers are only starting to export jabs produced in America to overseas customers. Whereas the country has hundreds of millions of more doses on order, both of approved and in-development vaccines.