WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Joe Biden announced that US is donating 500 million of vaccines to lower-income countries.
- Biden praised Pfizer’s CEO who has “really stepped up.”
- 200 million doses will be shipped out this year, and the remaining 300 is set on early 2022.
The US government is donating 500 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which President Joe Biden touted on Thursday.
“We’re taking a major step that will supercharge the global fight against this pandemic,” announced Biden, who was standing next to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla during a meeting of G7 global leaders in the United Kingdom, adding that the US will be the “arsenal of vaccines” just as it was the “arsenal of democracy” during World War II.
The president also highlighted that the “vaccine donations don’t include pressure for favors or potential concessions.”
“We’re doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That’s it. Period.”
For this year, 200 million doses will be available, and the remaining 300 million is scheduled on the first half of 2022.
Shipping of the first batch of vaccines, which will go to 92 lower-income countries, will begin in August.
As vaccine supply is abundant in the US, while the world is still suffering from vaccine shortage, Biden got the pressure to go an extra mile and vaccinate the globe — in which he also credited Bourla for “stepping up.”
According to experts, vaccination in other countries can help cut down the development of new variants. If not addressed, these new strains may not work against the current vaccines which may worsen the COVID situation in the world. So far, though, the vaccines have worked well against mutated viruses.
Bourla said that Pfizer vaccines, by far, give protection against the new variants, and added that the company has a process to quickly develop an updated vaccine in the case that the current one won’t work.
“We have built a process to develop within 100 days a new vaccine if needed, God forbid,” Bourla said.
Biden’s announcement was commended by the progressive group Public Citizen, but said that global manufacturing is much needed, not only donating doses made from the available capacity.
“The world needs urgent new manufacturing to produce billions more doses within a year, not just commitments to buy the planned inadequate supply,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program.
Biden said additional announcements will be made on Friday from the broader Group of Seven, showing the “full scope of our commitment.”
Source: The Hill