US announces to donate 500 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses to 100 poor nations

The COVID-19 vaccine donation-the largest ever by a single country- was announced before the President of the United States Joe Biden met the leaders of the Group of Seven advanced economies in Western England.

Created On: Jun 11, 2021 15:46 ISTModified On: Jun 11, 2021 15:46 IST

The United States Government will spend $3.5 billion to buy and donate 500 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to some of the poorest countries of the world. The country has also urged other G7 nations to follow the suit.

The COVID-19 vaccine donation-the largest ever by a single country- was announced before the President of the United States Joe Biden met the leaders of the Group of Seven advanced economies in Western England.

The 500 million doses of the vaccine are destined for the world’s 100 poorest countries. A senior official from Biden Administration described the gesture by the government as a major step forward that will supercharge the global effort.

The official added that the US expects other G7 nations to come up with the contributions as part of a comprehensive road map to end a pandemic that has killed more than 3.9 million people.

Pfizer-US partnership:

The US drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech had earlier stated that they will provide 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 and 300 million doses in the first half of 2022.

The shots of the vaccine, which will be produced at Pfizer’s US sites, will be supplied at a not-for-profit price.

The Chief Executive of Pfizer Albert Bourla has said that Pfizer’s partnership with the United States government will help in bringing hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine to the poorest countries across the world as soon as possible.

While talking about the announcement, the senior official from the US Government stated that the country really wants to underscore that this is fundamentally about a singular objective of saving lives and that Washington has not been seeking any favours in exchange for the doses.

Agencies call to increase global production of vaccines

The anti-poverty campaign group Oxfam has called for more to be done to increase the production of the COVID-19 vaccines globally. However, GAVI and WHO have welcomed the initiative.

The Oxfam America’s Vaccine lead, Niko Lusiani stated that surely these 500 million doses are welcome as they will help more than 250 people but it is still a drop in the bucket in comparison to the need that the world faces.

He added that transformation is needed toward more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that the qualified producers worldwide can produce billions of more low-cost vaccine doses on their own terms and without intellectual property constraints.

The US has already backed calls for a waiver of some vaccine intellectual property rights but there is still no international consensus on how to proceed further.

US’s contribution to increase global vaccination:

The new donations by the US have come on top of 80 million doses that Washington already pledged to donate by the end of June 2021.

Funding of $2 billion by the US has been earmarked for the COVAX program led by WHO and the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI).

US has also been taking steps to support the local production of the vaccine doses in other countries, including through its QUAD initiative with India, Australia, and Japan.

Background:

Biden’s announcement of donating 500 million doses to 100 poorest nations comes amid the mounting pressure for the US, which has now given at least one shot to around 64% of its adult population, to boost the vaccine donations to other countries that are in desperate need.

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