Health

United States to donate 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to world

By Al-Mashareq and AFP

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US President Joe Biden delivers a speech on the COVID-19 pandemic on June 10 in Britain. The United States announced a historic donation of half a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for world's poorer countries. [Brendan Smialowski/AFP]

US President Joe Biden announced Thursday (June 10) a historic US donation of half a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for world's poorer countries.

"The United States will purchase a half a billion doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to donate to nearly 100 nations that are in dire need in the fight against this pandemic," Biden said while on a visit to the United Kingdom to attend the G7 summit. "That's a historic step. The largest single purchase and donation of COVID-19 vaccines by any single country ever."

The first 200 million doses are set to be delivered around the world by the end of this year, with vaccines starting to ship in August, while the remainder will be sent out by June 2022.

This will "help supercharge the global fight against the pandemic", the White House said.

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The United States will purchase 500 million Pfizer jabs to send across the world to battle the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. [Justin Tallis/AFP]

"America knows firsthand the tragedies of this pandemic," Biden said. "We've had more people die in the United States than anywhere in the world: nearly 600,000 of our fellow Americans -- moms, dads, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents."

"But we also know the path to recovery," he added.

This new, huge surge in donations is meant "to save lives and end the pandemic", the White House said.

"The United States is using the power of our democracy, the ingenuity of American scientists, and the strength of American manufacturing to beat the pandemic globally by helping to vaccinate the world," the White House said.

The vaccines will be distributed through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) programme to "low and lower-middle income nations" and to the African Union.

The Gavi vaccine alliance lists Afghanistan, Syria, Tajikistan, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Yemen among the 92 nations to receive the doses.

The announcement came on top of an earlier pledge to donate some 80 million doses by the end of June, as well as a $2 billion contribution to COVAX funding.

"President Biden has been clear that borders cannot keep this pandemic at bay and has vowed that our nation will be the arsenal of vaccines," the statement said.

G7 leaders who gathered Friday for their first in-person talks in nearly two years, are expected to pledge to donate an additional half a billion vaccine doses to poor countries.

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