The White House said that US President Joe Biden is expected to announce a “historic” US donation of half a billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to 92 poor countries.
The United States is purchasing 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, including 200 million scheduled to be delivered worldwide by the end of this year.
The rest will be dispatched by June 2022, the White House said in a statement.
The White House said the “largest ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country” would help accelerate the global fight against the pandemic.
Mr Biden, who is attending the G7 summit in Britain this week, “will call on global democracies to do their part in contributing to the global supply of safe and effective vaccines.”
The United States has come under fire for holding huge stockpiles of unused vaccines, something the government says was initially necessary as a precaution in its own race to trap vaccines into the arms of Americans.
However, with local vaccination rates now at 64% of adults receiving at least one dose, Washington is moving quickly to regain global leadership on the issue.
The White House has rejected suggestions that the United States is engaging in a so-called vaccine diplomacy contest with Russia and China, describing its initiatives as a return to multilateralism after Donald Trump’s presidency.
The White House said this massive new increase in donations aims to “save lives and end the pandemic,” adding that “the United States is using the power of our democracy, the ingenuity of American scientists, and the power of American manufacturing to beat the pandemic globally by helping to vaccinate the world.”
The vaccines will be distributed through the international COVAX program to ‘low and middle income’ countries. “
The announcement came on top of an earlier pledge to donate about 80 million vaccines by the end of June, as well as a $2 billion contribution to funding COVAX.
“President Biden has been clear that borders cannot prevent this pandemic and pledged that our nation will be the arsenal of vaccines,” the statement said.
Biden hinted at the announcement yesterday before boarding Air Force One for Britain to meet fellow G7 leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
When asked if he has a vaccine strategy for the world, he said, “I have one and I will announce it.”
According to US media reports, the deal will make the US pay for the doses to a “non-profit” nonprofit.