The Biden administration on Thursday announced a plan to share the first 25 million Covid-19 vaccine doses with the rest of the world and an overall framework of distributing at least 80 million doses by the end of June.
At least 75% of these donated vaccines will be shared with the global vaccination program called Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX, and 25% will be shared directly with countries in need, the White House said.
“We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. 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,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.
As part of the first round of 25 million doses being distributed, nearly 19 million will be shared through COVAX, which is an initiative led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, along with the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
Approximately 6 million of those doses will be sent to South and Central America – specifically to Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Haiti and other Caribbean Community countries, as well as the Dominican Republic.
Approximately 7 million doses will be distributed in Asia to India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan and the Pacific Islands. Additionally, approximately 5 million will be sent to Africa to be shared with countries that will be selected in coordination with the African Union.
The other approximately 6 million doses from the first round of 25 million will be sent to Mexico, Canada, the Republic of Korea, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Yemen, and will be used to vaccinate United Nations frontline workers.
“Strong American leadership is essential to ending this pandemic now, and to strengthening global health security for tomorrow – to better prevent, detect, and respond to the next threat,” the President said in the statement.
Biden continued: “The United States will be the world’s arsenal of vaccines in our shared fight against this virus. In the days to come, as we draw on the experience of distributing the vaccine doses announced today, we will have more details to provide about how future doses will be shared. And we will continue to do all we can to build a world that is safer and more secure against the threat of infectious disease.”
Biden's White House
The President said he would continue following the science and working closely with democratic partners to coordinate a multilateral effort, including through the Group of Seven. The G7 summit is being held next week in Cornwall in the United Kingdom.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday described the global vaccine sharing effort as “historic” and “Herculean.” She claimed the number of doses the US has committed to sharing with other countries is five times as much as any other country has committed and is 13% of the total vaccines produced by the US by the end of this month.
CNN had previously reported that Biden finalized his plan to distribute millions of coronavirus vaccines worldwide after months of deliberation.
Biden said last month the US would share an additional 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of June on top of the 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine the President had already committed to sharing by July 4. The additional 20 million doses will consist of Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well as AstraZeneca, which has to be approved by federal regulators before being shipped overseas.
White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said Thursday during a White House briefing the US would continue to donate additional doses across the summer months as supply becomes available.
Zients said the Biden administration is working with US vaccine manufacturers to “vastly increase supply for the rest of the world in a way that also creates jobs here at home.” He said Pfizer and Moderna have already increased their capacity to produce vaccines for the rest of the world.
The US will also work with partner nations, pharmaceutical companies and other manufacturers to increase global vaccine manufacturing and production capacity to “not only help the world beat this pandemic, but also prepares the world to respond to potential future threats,” Zients said.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Thursday the United States would ultimately have the authority to decide which countries receive the first 25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, but that it would be working closely and in partnership with COVAX.
In February, Biden said $2 billion in US contribution would go toward a global coronavirus vaccine initiative. The funding – which Biden announced on a call with G7 leaders – will provide support to COVAX.
Biden also pledged an additional $2 billion in funding contingent on contributions from other nations and dose delivery targets being met.
The President has said there will be enough Covid-19 vaccine supply for every American adult by the end of this month and has set a goal of having 70% of US adults vaccinated by July 4.
This story has been updated with additional information.