WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden says the United States will deliver 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to less-developed countries, with the president saying stopping the virus in every corner of the globe is vital to keeping Americans safe.
The commitment is the largest made by any country so far, but several others have also said they will donate doses. The World Health Organization has vowed to deliver 2 billion to nations in need by the end of the year.
“Today, we’re taking a major step that will supercharge the global fight against this pandemic,” Biden, who is in the United Kingdom for the G7 summit, said as he announced half a billion Pfizer-BioNTech doses going to nearly 100 developing countries. “With no strings attached. … We’re doing this to save lives.”
“Every woman and child on the planet, regardless of financial condition, race or geography, deserve access to life-saving vaccines,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, who joined Biden for his announcement, said.
Vaccine is still scarce in many small nations and COVID-19 hot spots are still emerging in Latin America, parts of Africa and Asia. Biden said sharing vaccines will be key to tamp the virus down, end the pandemic and protect the global economy.
“Our values call on us to do everything that we can,” he said, going on to say, “It’s also in America’s self-interest. … As long as the virus rages elsewhere, there’s a risk of new mutations that could threaten our people.”
The president said the first batch of 200 million doses will be shipped out starting in August. The remaining doses will go out early next year. What remains to be seen is which countries will be prioritized.
The U.S. has already promised about 80 million doses to countries like Canada and Mexico, to be delivered by the end of the month.
Biden added G7 nations should have more announcements about the fight against the virus Friday.