Beneath stress, US donates half a billion extra doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the world

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (Reuters) – The US on Wednesday pledged to buy a further 500 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to provide to different international locations because it comes underneath rising stress to share its provide with the remainder of the world.

President Joe Biden made the announcement throughout a digital summit geared toward rising international coronavirus vaccination charges and rallying world leaders to do extra.

“To beat the pandemic right here, now we have to beat it all over the place,” Biden stated as he launched the summit, which included leaders from Britain, Canada, Indonesia and South Africa in addition to World Well being Group chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“This can be a disaster at each degree,” Biden stated of the pandemic that has raged because the begin of 2020, killing greater than 4,900,000 individuals.

The extra vaccines will take US donations to greater than 1.1 billion doses, effectively beneath the 5 to six billion doses that international well being consultants imagine are wanted by the poorest international locations. Supply of the brand new unit will start in January.

Well being consultants say wealthy international locations have not performed sufficient and have criticized the US particularly for scheduling booster photographs for absolutely vaccinated People when a lot of the world’s inhabitants didn’t. nonetheless no entry to vaccines.

They are saying deliberate dose donations in the US are welcome however inadequate and observe that the Pfizer vaccine is tough to scale up and administer in poorer international locations, which lack subtle infrastructure to retailer and ship vaccines.

“We’ll want 6 to 9 billion doses of vaccine” to immunize the creating world, stated Peter Hotez, dean of the Nationwide Tropical College of Drugs at Baylor College in Texas.

“Donations alone usually are not sufficient to finish this pandemic. The overwhelming majority of excessive donation pledges have but to materialize,” stated Carrie Teicher, program director at Docs With out Borders.

Creating nation leaders have warned that wealthy international locations’ hoarding of vaccines might result in new variants of the coronavirus.

Biden stated the US would supply $ 370 million “to help the administration of those vaccines” and greater than $ 380 million to assist the International Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) handle vaccine distribution in areas which have it. want it most.

The vaccines from Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and BioNTech SE might be manufactured in the US and shipped to low and decrease center earnings international locations. A supply aware of the matter stated the US authorities would pay round $ 7 per dose.

US President Joe Biden speaks on the 76th session of the United Nations Normal Meeting in New York, United States, September 21, 2021. REUTERS / Eduardo Munoz / Pool

With greater than 670,000 individuals dying from COVID-19 in the US, Biden has made it clear that his precedence is to vaccinate People. However the unfold of the Delta variant of the coronavirus and outrage over imbalances in vaccine distribution have pushed Washington to do extra.

“For each injection now we have given up to now in America, now we have now made a dedication to do three injections in the remainder of the world,” Biden stated.

In June, the Biden administration agreed to purchase and donate 500 million doses. Beneath the contract, the US can pay Pfizer and BioNTech about $ 3.5 billion or $ 7 a dose for the injections.

The COVAX facility, supported by the World Well being Group and GAVI, has delivered greater than 286 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 141 international locations, in response to GAVI information. In September, organizations that function the ability needed to scale back their 2021 supply goal by almost 30% to 1.425 billion doses.

Vaccination charges in some international locations, together with Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are beneath 1%, in response to a Reuters tracker.

United Nations Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres on Tuesday berated world leaders for the inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, calling it “obscenity” and giving the world an “F in ethics.” Learn extra

Delays in vaccinations imply that the world’s inhabitants might be “uncovered to new variants attacking us with larger ferocity,” Colombian President Ivan Duque stated Wednesday. “International immunity requires solidarity, so hoarding can not exist within the face of the wants of others,” stated Duque.

The digital summit additionally addressed the oxygen scarcity, rising availability of medicines and making ready for a future pandemic. In the case of vaccines, the Biden staff advocates a purpose of getting 70% of the international locations’ inhabitants vaccinated by this time subsequent yr.

Deliveries of the preliminary 500 million doses started in August, with a complete of 1 billion doses anticipated to be delivered by the top of September 2022, in response to a press release from Pfizer and BioNtech.

The doses might be manufactured at Pfizer’s U.S. amenities and delivered to 92 low- and lower-middle-income international locations and the 55 African Union member states.

A consortium of pharmaceutical business commerce teams stated in a press release Wednesday that international vaccine manufacturing is enough to offer boosters in wealthy international locations and donations to the creating world in 2021.

Leaders of main Group of Seven economies introduced in June a plan to donate one billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the poorest international locations. This included the primary $ 500 million promised by the US. Biden’s White Home additionally desires different wealthy international locations to donate extra.

“Frankly, the remainder of the world must step up and do extra,” White Home spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated.

Reporting by Jeff Mason and Carl O’Donnell; Further reporting by Michael Erman, Daphne Psaledakis, Michelle Nichols, Andrea Shalal and Susan Heavey; Modifying by Heather Timmons and Grant McCool

Our Requirements: Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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