The Biden administration plans to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine against the Wuhan virus to nearly 100 countries over the next two years, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
Sources say the US is likely to distribute 200 million doses this year and another 300 million in the first half of next year to 92 low-income countries and the African Union.
Donations will be made through the COVAX program, which distributes COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries. This program is led by the World Health Organization and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI).
US President Joe Biden will announce the plan on Thursday at the G7 meeting in the UK.
One of the sources said the deal had been negotiated over the past four weeks by White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zient and the coronavirus task force.
CNBC reported on Wednesday that the United States is also in discussions with Moderna Inc about buying some of its vaccines to donate to other countries.
A Moderna spokesman said the company was interested in being able to provide the US government with doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to help low- and middle-income countries, but declined to comment on the matter. discuss any discussion.
Mr. Biden told reporters before boarding Air Force One to Britain that he had a global vaccine strategy and would announce it, but did not provide details.
The United States is under increasing pressure to increase funding of COVID-19 shots to other countries.
In the US, the country has given at least one shot to about 64% of the adult population and has begun to vaccinate minors, while other countries such as Brazil and India are struggling to get those doses. necessary medicine.
Tom Hart, acting chief executive officer of The ONE Campaign, a nonprofit working to end poverty and disease by 2030, said: “This action sends an incredibly powerful message. strong on America’s commitment to helping the world fight this pandemic.”
The Biden administration is also using the US vaccine supply as a tool to counter China and Russia’s vaccine diplomacy.
Earlier, the Biden administration said it would share 80 million doses of the vaccine worldwide by the end of June. The White House earlier this year also pledged $4 billion in funding for COVAX and called on other countries to also increase it. funding boost.
Pfizer said it expects to produce 3 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by 2021 and up to 4 billion next year.
The New York Times reported that the United States would buy these doses of the vaccine at “no profit,” citing people familiar with the deal. The news agency also reported that Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla will accompany Mr. Biden at the announcement.
The deal is in addition to the 300 million doses of vaccine the U.S. purchased from Pfizer and brings the total number of Pfizer/BioNTech shots the U.S. purchased to 800 million doses, the NYTimes reported.