Biden announces 500 million dose vaccine donations to 'supercharge' global fight against COVID-19
By Hanna Park
(LONDON) President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the U.S. will donate 500 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to “supercharge” the global fight against the pandemic, The Hill reports.
Speaking in England ahead of the meeting of the Group of 7 wealthy democracies, Biden made the formal pledge of the global vaccine campaign while standing next to Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla.
"We're taking a major step that will supercharge the global fight against this pandemic," the president said. "Our vaccine donations don't include pressure for favors or potential concessions. We're doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That's it. Period."
“This is about our responsibility, our humanitarian obligation, to save as many lives as we can,” Biden added. “When we see people hurting and suffering anywhere around the world, we seek to help any way we can.”
Leaders of the G7 will start meeting in England on Friday to announce a broader global vaccination strategy to contain the pandemic.
The first 200 million doses will begin shipping in August, followed by 300 million by next June, Biden and Bourla said. The doses will be distributed through COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing initiative, to 92 lower-income countries.
The move comes as wealthy nations with robust vaccine supply have quickly moved toward inoculating a majority of their population, while much of the world, particularly Africa, lags far behind, fueling fears that more deadly waves could lead to new virus variants.
The donation marks the largest pledge from a country, but it would only fully inoculate about 3% of the world’s population. The U.S. will pay $1.5 billion for the Pfizer-BioNTech shots, or $3 per dose, which Pfizer described as a “not for profit” price, as it’s much less than the $20 for domestic use.