Joe Biden announces extra 20 million U.S. vaccine doses for other countries

Although the Biden administration has not released a plan on how it will apportion the vaccines across countries, India is expected to receive a significant share of these

May 17, 2021 11:57 pm | Updated May 18, 2021 07:03 pm IST - WASHINGTON

White House press secretary Jen Psaki. File

White House press secretary Jen Psaki. File

The U.S. will send at least an additional 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, in addition to the 60 million AstraZeneca vaccines it has already committed, to other countries, President Joe Biden said on Monday.

The additional doses will include not just AstraZeneca but also Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines.

"Rampant disease and death in other countries can destabilize them – those countries – and pose a risk to us as well,” Mr Biden said during remarks at the White House.  "New variants could arise overseas that could put us at greater risk and we need to help fight the disease around the world to keep us safe here at home, and to do the right thing of helping other people.

"It’s the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do. It’s the strong thing to do,” he added.

Also read: Joe Biden reiterates U.S. intention to send India vaccines

While the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are being used in the U.S., the AstraZeneca vaccine has not been approved. A stockpile of 60 million doses is awaiting safety clearance by the Food & Drug Authority (FDA). If received, it will be shipped abroad in its entirety. 

Although the Biden administration has not released a plan on how it will apportion the vaccines across countries, India is expected to receive a significant share of these.

Also read: Narendra Modi speaks to Joe Biden over phone amid surge in cases

Mr Biden said the U.S. would have secured enough vaccines for itself by the end of June. "The United States will share at least 20 million of those doses, that extra supply with other countries," Mr Biden said. “This means over the next six weeks, the United States of America will send 80 million doses overseas.”

Mr Biden said the 80 million doses represent 13% of the country’s vaccine production (by June-end) and that the U.S. will be donating more than Russia and China, which had donated 15 million doses, according to him.

Also read: We understand India’s pharmaceutical requirements: Joe Biden

"There’s a lot of talk about Russia and China influencing in the world with vaccines,” Mr Biden said.  "We will not use our vaccines to secure favors from other countries,” he added.

Mr Biden also announced a new milestone in the U.S.’s  fight against COVID: a decline in COVID-19 cases in all 50 states for the first time since the pandemic started. Mr Biden also said that those who do not get vaccinated would end up “paying the price,” adding that it would be “needless” and a “tragedy” to see COVID cases among the unvaccinated, since the vaccine was free.

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