White House’s global COVID jab distribution plan hits issue

White House’s global COVID jab distribution plan hits issue

The Biden administration on Monday revealed allocation plans for 55 million doses of the coronavirus vaccination, amid what officials say are logistical challenges that have delayed the commitment to share 80 million with other countries by the end of June.
In a backgrounder released Monday, the White House said the majority of the 55 million shots would be shared through the global sharing mechanism COVAX. Some 14 million doses will go to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, while 16 million will go to countries in Asia, including India. About 10 million doses will go to Africa, with countries selected in coordination with the African Union.

The remaining doses, around 25 percent, will be shared directly with countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Ground crew unloading a shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccine from South Africa at Toronto Pearson Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada [File: Carlos Osorio/Reuters]

“Sharing millions of US vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the US government,” the White House said in the backgrounder.

“Just as we did in our national response, we will act as quickly as possible, while respecting regulatory and legal requirements of the United States and the host country, to facilitate the safe and secure transport of vaccines across borders. international. “

But President Joe Biden is not expected to deliver on his pledge to ship 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine overseas by the end of June.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the doses produced in the United States were ready and the delays were due to regulatory and logistical hurdles.

“What we found to be the biggest challenge isn’t actually the procurement – we have a lot of doses to share with the world – but it’s a Herculean logistical challenge,” Psaki said at a conference. regular press Monday.

Woman getting COVID-19 vaccine at pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pa. [File: Hannah Beier/Reuters]

So far, less than 10 million doses have been shipped from the United States to other countries, including 2.5 million doses delivered to Taiwan over the weekend and around 1 million doses delivered to Mexico, Mexico. Canada and South Korea earlier this month.

Psaki said the shipments would leave as soon as countries were ready to receive the doses and the administration was sorting out the logistical complexities, including immunization supplies like syringes and alcohol prep swabs, storage at the hospital. cold for doses, customs procedures and even language barriers.

Psaki said she did not know how many doses would be shipped by the end of the month.

The United States has been shipping “excess” doses – injections that are not needed in the United States – amid falling demand for vaccination in recent weeks. More than 177 million Americans have received at least one injection.

Earlier this month, Biden announced that in addition to the 80 million doses his administration would share globally, the United States was purchasing 500 million doses from Pfizer to donate globally over the course of the year. year to come, with the first deliveries expected in August.

Taiwanese workers unload Moderna vaccines shipped from the United States to Taoyuan, Taiwan [Ann Wang/Reuters]

Earlier this month, the White House also unveiled plans for the first 25 million doses to be exported from existing federal stocks of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and some have already started shipping.

Biden initially pledged to supply other countries with the 60 million US-produced doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not yet been approved for use in the United States but is widely approved around the world. AstraZeneca doses have been suspended from export by a week-long safety review by the Food and Drug Administration.


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