President Joe Biden is set to announce plan for the U.S. government to purchase 500 million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for the purpose of sending the vials to other countries who are in need of vaccines, according to several reports.
Biden is expected to unveil the deal during this week’s G-7 summit of the world’s most developed economies with the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.K., where the event is being held.
What are the details?
NBC News reported that according to three people familiar with his thinking, Biden will announce his plan to buy the 500 million doses “to donate to other countries struggling with a limited supply.”
“Of the doses, 200 million will be donated this year and 300 million will be donated across the first half of next year,” the outlet reported, adding that “the doses will be distributed through COVAX — a humanitarian program run in part by the World Health Organization that aims to distribute vaccines fairly — to 92 low-income countries, as well as the African Union.”
Politico also cited three unnamed sources in its report on the plan while reporting that “the new order would nearly double the government’s original agreement to buy up to 600 million Pfizer doses” and “it has so far secured 300 million for the U.S. population, but American demand has dropped off in recent weeks while calls for overseas donations have increased.”
The Washington Post also claimed three people familiar with the plan told them about it, but that the White House declined to comment on Wednesday.
The newspaper reported that Biden “hinted he would be announcing his global plan as he boarded Air Force One to Britain on Wednesday” when he told reporters, “I have one, and I’ll be announcing it.”
While in the air on the trip to the U.K., national security adviser Jack Sullivan told the press:
“The president is focused on helping to vaccinate the world because he believes it is the right thing to do; it’s what Americans do in times of need. When we have the capacity, then we have the will, and we step up and we deliver. And he said in his joint session that we were the arsenal of democracy in World War II, and we’re going to be the arsenal of vaccines over the course of the next period to end this pandemic.”
The world’s wealthy nations have faced increasing pressure to distribute coronavirus vaccines to less fortunate countries.
In May, a slate of celebrities gathered for Global Citizen’s “VAX LIVE” concert, where they called “on world leaders to step up for equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.”