U.S. raising world vaccine pledge to more than 1.1 billion doses

  • In Politics
  • 2021-09-22 10:01:54Z

WASHINGTON - The United States plans to send an additional 500 million COVID-19 vaccines around the world, increasing the total doses donated to other nations to more than 1.1 billion.

President Biden is expected to announce the commitment at a virtual world COVID summit he's hosting Wednesday.

The 500 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be made in the United States, according to a senior administration official who provided the information on the condition of anonymity. The doses will begin shipping to other countries in January.

The White House did not put a price tag on the promise but said the vaccines would be purchased from Pfizer/BioNTech at a "not-for-profit price."

The president announced an initial commitment of 500 million doses in June.

Biden has promised to make the United States the "arsenal of vaccines for the world," having already shipped more than 160 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to other countries and contributed more than $15 billion toward the global response.

But the United States has also been criticized for not doing more.

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President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks to the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sept.  

The Biden administration is ignoring the World Health Organization's request to not consider booster shots for Americans until more people around the globe have received a first shot.

The White House has insisted it can both take the steps needed to protect Americans while sending vaccines across the world.

For every dose already put into the arm of an American, the nation will now be donating three shots to other countries, according to the administration.

At the summit - to be attended by both heads of state and the leaders of international organizations, the private sector and others - the administration will encourage attendees to work toward the goal of getting 70% of the population in every country vaccinated by next September.

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Biden will chair the first session of the summit, focusing on that goal.

"To fight this pandemic, we need a collective act of science and political will," Biden told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday. "We need to act now to get shots in arms as fast as possible and to expand access to oxygen, tests, treatments to save lives around the world."

"The world needs an estimated 11 billion doses to bring the pandemic under control, according to the World Health Organization.

Joan Rosenhauer, executive director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, urged summit attendees to "put the most vulnerable people at the center of their discussion."

"Most of the world's population and nearly all of those who are displaced are living in nations which have little or no vaccine development and manufacturing capacity," Rosenhauer said. "Until all of us are afforded the opportunity to receive vaccine protection, none of us will be truly free from the threat of this virus."

Maureen Groppe has covered Washington for nearly three decades and is now a White House correspondent for USA TODAY. Follow her on Twitter @mgroppe.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden to raise world vaccine pledge to more than 1.1 billion doses


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