WASHINGTON – The White House announced on Monday which countries will receive 55 million doses of the US Covid-19 vaccine supply as part of President Joe Biden’s pledge to share 80 million doses globally by the end June.
About 41 million doses will be shared through COVAX – a humanitarian program managed in part by the World Health Organization that aims to distribute vaccines equitably – which will allocate about 14 million to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, 16 million to Asia and 10 million to Africa.
COVAX’s goal is to make 2 billion doses available to countries that need them by the end of the year. So far, around 88 million doses of the vaccine have been shipped to more than 131 participants.
Fourteen million of the 55 million doses will also be shared with “regional priorities and other recipients,” the White House said. These countries and regions include: Colombia, Argentina, Haiti, other Caribbean countries, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cabo Verde, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Oman, Ukraine, Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova, Bosnia and the West Bank and Gaza.
The White House said it would announce specific vaccines and quantities later, as the administration worked out logistics.
The 80 million doses Biden has pledged to share globally by the end of June are now counted, following Monday’s announcement. The White House announced earlier this month its first wave of commitments, sharing 25 million vaccines with COVAX and governments in need.
Although 80 million vaccines have been allocated, Biden will likely miss his goal of having them delivered to recipient countries by the end of the month. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that a number of logistical challenges – ranging from transportation hurdles to language barriers – slowed the process down.
About 75 percent of the 80 million doses went to COVAX while 25 percent went directly to selected countries, the White House said.
The announcement comes as vaccine supply exceeds demand in the United States – with around 65% of American adults now having at least one injection – and as Biden has increasingly shifted his vaccination strategy to focus on vaccination rates around the world.
The United States and other wealthy countries were criticized earlier this year for ramping up the rollout of their vaccines as poorer countries struggled to obtain vaccines. Experts have warned that global immunization inequalities could prolong the pandemic for everyone if the coronavirus continues to mutate, which could make it more infectious and resistant to vaccines.
While attending the Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, England, earlier this month, Biden announced that the United States would also purchase and donate half a billion doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to the countries in difficulty of supply. These vaccines will be delivered via COVAX from August.
“Sharing millions of American vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the US government,” the White House said in a statement, adding that “the United States will not use its vaccines to gain favors from other countries “.