US To Donate 500 Million More Covid Vaccines To Other Countries

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This additional donation will bring the total US commitment for the Covid vaccine to 1.1 billion (File)

Washington:

U.S. President Joe Biden will announce on Wednesday that the United States plans to donate an additional 500 million Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccines to the rest of the world, bringing its total commitment to 1.1 billion, officials said.

Biden will relay the news at a virtual summit to be held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, where he will challenge world leaders to immunize 70% of every country by September 2022.

Donations are being made “free of charge, unconditionally,” a senior administration official said ahead of the meeting.

“For every injection we have given in this country to date, we are now giving three injections to other countries,” she added.

In his first speech to the UN as president on Tuesday, Biden told delegates the United States has spent more than $ 15 billion in the global response to Covid and shipped more than 160 million doses to others. country.

The United States and other wealthy countries have come under fire from the World Health Organization for plans to roll out booster shots to the elderly and high-risk populations, when much of the world is facing a serious shortage of doses.

However, the administration official said: “We are proving that you can take care of your own, while helping others.”

70 percent target

Despite the development of safe and highly effective vaccines in record time, huge disparities exist between countries with sufficient supplies and others that have barely started their immunization campaigns.

Only 3.6 percent of Africa’s eligible population has been vaccinated, compared to an average of over 60 percent in Western Europe.

Biden has invited heads of state, leaders of international organizations, private sector philanthropic organizations and NGOs for the summit, which begins around 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time (3:00 p.m. GMT).

“The president will call on world leaders to raise the level of global ambition to end the Covid pandemic in 2022, and to rebuild better health security to prevent and prepare for future pandemics,” said a second US official.

Washington will seek to rally the world around three goals: increasing vaccine supply; save lives now by solving the oxygen crisis and access to tests, drugs and treatment; and finally improve future preparation.

On vaccines, Biden will set an “ambitious goal, which will require all countries to step up, so that every country, including low- and middle-income countries, can achieve 70% immunization by UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) next year, “the official said.

The summit will include sessions chaired by Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, and will be attended by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom.

While the last global wave peaked at the end of August, the virus continues to spread rapidly, especially in the United States, which is officially the most affected country.

Some 4.7 million people have died since the start of the epidemic in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by DAILYNEWSCATCH staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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