US to donate of 55M Covid vaccine doses to poor nations

FILE PHOTO: Empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are seen at The Michener Institute, in Toronto, Canada January 4, 2021 in this file photo. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio/File Photo

The Biden administration will donate 55 million of its promised 80 million doses from the United States’ coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine stockpile to an international consortium that works with poor countries and targeted regional allies.

On June 3, the White House initially said the U.S. government would send at least 80 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to needy countries overseas by the end of this month. During that announcement, it designated the first 19 million doses to the COVAX initiative and 6 million to “regional priorities and partner recipients.”

In Monday’s announcement, the Biden administration said of the 55 million remaining doses, 41 million will go to COVAX and 14 million to Latin American and Caribbean countries in need.

Those countries include Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Costa Rica, along with member nations of the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, organization.

“For all of these doses, those most at risk, such as healthcare workers, should be prioritized, based on national vaccine plans,” the White House statement said. “In addition to sharing doses from our own vaccine supply, the Biden-Harris administration is also committed to working with our U.S. manufacturers to produce more vaccine to share with the world.”

Biden said before the Group of Seven Summit the United States would purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and donate them to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries, including African Union members.

“Sharing millions of U.S. vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the U.S. government,” the White House said. “Just like we have in our domestic response, we will move as expeditiously as possible, while abiding by U.S. and host country regulatory and legal requirements, to facilitate the safe and secure transport of vaccines across international borders.”

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