“As long as the virus continues to rage outside the United States, potentially more dangerous variants could arrive at our shores again,” Biden said during a briefing, noting the U.S. has contributed more than any other country worldwide to COVAX, the global vaccine initiative co-led by the World Health Organization.
The 65 countries receiving millions of doses “are among the hardest hit in the world,” Biden said.
The Biden administration previously announced plans to purchase 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine to donate to nearly 100 low-and-middle income countries without supply. Those doses will get shipped out at the end of the month, Biden said during the briefing.
“We’re doing this to save lives and to end this pandemic, that’s it,” Biden said. “In fact, we’re donating vaccines to countries we have real issues with, and we’ll continue to give tens of millions of doses away across the summer and work to increase U.S. manufacturing and manufacturing of vaccines around the world as well.” In addition, Biden noted that the U.S. will also continue to provide other countries with more tests, protective equipment and personnel to suppress the pandemic.
Officials with the World Health Organization have repeatedly urged throughout the pandemic for countries to share vaccine supply to offer protection and prevent the virus from further mutating. As of July 27, the global health agency reported an 8% weekly increase in infections and a sharp uptick in deaths over the prior week at 21%. If the trends keep pace, the WHO predicts the world will log 200 million total COVID-19 cases by next week.