The Biden administration is planning to purchase 500 million more Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine doses to donate to the world, officials said in an op-ed Wednesday.
Why it matters: The move represents a big step toward making the U.S. a major global vaccine supplier just as China has ramped up exports of its Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSino vaccines, which can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures.
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State of play: The U.S. had already bought 500 million vaccine doses from Pfizer to donate to countries in need.
The country has already donated more than "all other countries in the world combined," White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said during a press briefing last week.
Between the lines: Wealthier nations have more vaccines than citizens who want them, while poorer countries are facing bleaker timelines for when they can administer first doses.
What they're saying: "After purchasing 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in June to donate to the world, we'll double that commitment, purchasing an additional 500 million Pfizer doses to give to low- and lower-middle-income countries around the globe," Zients and Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in the Washington Post.
"This is a monumental commitment by the United States, bringing our total number of donated vaccines to the world to more than 1.1 billion. For every one shot we've put in an American arm to date, we are now donating about three shots globally," they added.
Go deeper: The U.S. isn't vaccinating most of the world - but China might