President Joe Biden has announced that they will contribute 500 million Pfizer doses to COVAX over the next two years as pressure from progressives mount around "vaccine nationalism." The shots will go to 92 developing countries in the African Union. Pfizer is reportedly selling the vaccine doses to the United States at cost.
The donations will go through the COVAX program that distributes COVID-19 vaccine doses to low-income countries and is backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).
"It is completely unethical that high-income countries are now vaccinating young and healthy people. If that happens at the expense of people in at-risk and on the front lines in lower and middle-income countries," said Greta Thunberg as the US has started vaccinating adolescents while other countries struggle to vaccinate even the elderly.
The US says it will contribute 200 million doses by the end of 2021 and 300 million in the first half of 2022. The deal has been in the works for the past month, led by White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients according to Reuters. The Biden admin plans on sharing 80 million vaccine doses by the end of June.
"This action sends an incredibly powerful message about America’s commitment to helping the world fight this pandemic," said Tom Hart, acting chief executive of The ONE Campaign, a nonprofit working to end preventable disease.
Pfizer has said it expects to produce as many as 3 billion COVID-19 shots in 2021 and upwards of 4 billion in 2022.