President Biden announced Thursday evening that the United States plans to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine worldwide as part of its efforts to reaffirm U.S. leadership on the world stage.
“America knows firsthand the tragedy of this pandemic. We have had more deaths in the United States than anywhere in the world, nearly 600,000 of our fellow Americans,” Biden said in remarks after meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
He added, “We know the tragedy. We also know the path to recovery.”
The move will also serve to counter efforts by Russia and China to use their own publicly funded vaccines to expand their global influence.
During remarks announcing the purchase of the vaccine, Biden stressed that there were no conditions for accepting vaccines purchased in the United States.
“Be clear: just like the 80 million doses we announced earlier, the United States is providing these half billion doses without any conditions,” Biden said. “Our vaccine donations do not include pressure for potential favors or concessions. We are doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That’s it. Period.”
Administration officials have suggested the move is part of a larger effort for democracies around the world to lead the way in recovery from a pandemic. The dose donation effort is also intended to encourage other U.S. allies to step up their efforts.
“We are also using this announcement today to leverage and mobilize broader commitments from democracies around the world, the G7 and partner countries,” said a separate senior official, previewing a “multilateral announcement related to the G7 Covid “.
At the G7 summit this weekend, the official said, leaders will announce a “collective effort by the world’s democracies to beat Covid-19 once and for all.”
Here are some other important things to know about donating:
- As for the timing, officials said doses of Pfizer will start shipping in August and 200 million doses will be delivered by the end of this year.
- The remaining 300 million doses will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
- They will be made in the United States, officials said, “employing thousands of workers” in states like Michigan, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
- The cost will be around $ 1.5 billion, which will come from funds previously allocated in the US bailout relief plan adopted earlier this year.
Learn more about Biden’s announcement here.