WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden to announce at the G-7 meeting in Britain on Thursday his plans to buy 500 million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to donate to other countries struggling with limited supply .
Of the doses, 200 million will be given this year and 300 million in the first half of next year. The doses will be distributed through COVAX and will be donated to 92 low-income countries as well as to the African Union.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters traveling with the president on Wednesday afternoon that Biden would use the G-7 summit to encourage other Democratic allies to donate more vaccines to countries in need and that the G-7 would also make a joint announcement on their efforts. to boost global vaccinations.
Sullivan said contributing to global immunization efforts was the “smart” thing for the United States to do due to the threat of Covid-19 variants and said the focus on partnering with other democracies aimed to demonstrate that democratic systems are equipped to “deliver solutions.”
Biden, who has prioritized vaccinating people in the United States before offering doses to other countries, faces increasing pressure to do more to help other countries amid fears that the strategy of China and Russia to sell or donate their vaccines to other countries allows them to extend influence around the world.
The United States and other wealthy countries have come under fire for ramping up their vaccine rollouts while other poorer countries struggle to get vaccines. Experts have warned that global immunization inequalities could prolong the pandemic for everyone if the coronavirus continues to mutate, which could make it more infectious and resistant to vaccines.
The Biden administration had previously announced that it would ship 80 million snapshots overseas by the end of June. The first deliveries of these doses will be released in the coming weeks.
Asked by reporters Wednesday morning before boarding Air Force One if he was planning to announce a new global vaccination strategy, Biden said: “I have one and I will announce it.”