The United States will donate 500 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine to 100 developing countries
The US announced on Thursday that it will pay $3.5 billion to purchase and distribute 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to some of the world’s poorest countries, pushing other G7 governments to do the same.
The vaccine donation, which is the largest ever made by a single country, was made public just before US President Joe Biden met with leaders of the Group of Seven major countries in western England.
The 500 million pills will be distributed to the world’s lowest 100 nations. The gesture was touted as a “huge step forward that would supercharge the global effort” with the goal of “giving optimism to every corner of the planet,” according to a senior Biden administration official.
“We really want to emphasize that this is really about saving lives,” the individual said, adding that Washington was not looking for anything in return for the dosages.
Other G7 members are expected to contribute as part of a comprehensive road map to end a pandemic that has killed more than 3.9 million people, according to the official.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech had previously stated that 200 million doses would be provided in 2021 and 300 million doses in the first half of 2022.
The shots, which will be manufactured at Pfizer’s US facilities, will be provided at a non-profit rate.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla remarked, “Our relationship with the US government will help send hundreds of millions of doses of our vaccine to the world’s poorest countries as rapidly as feasible.”
Oxfam, a poverty-fighting organization, advocated for more to be done to boost global vaccine manufacturing.
“These 500 million vaccine doses are certainly good because they will benefit over 250 million people, but they are still a drop in the bucket compared to the global demand,” said Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America’s vaccination head.
“We need a transformation toward more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers worldwide can produce billions of more low-cost doses on their own terms, without intellectual property constraints,” he added in a statement.
Biden has backed calls for a waiver of some vaccine intellectual property rights but there is no international consensus on how to proceed.
The new donations come on top of 80 million doses Washington has already pledged to donate by the end of June, and $2 billion in funding earmarked for the COVAX program led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the White House said.
GAVI and the World Health Organization (WHO) applauded the idea.
Washington is also working with Japan, India, and Australia to assist domestic manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines in other countries, notably through the Quad effort.
Biden’s declaration comes as pressure mounts on the US, which has now provided at least one shot to around 64% of its adult population, to increase vaccine donations to other countries in severe need.