By Trevor Hunnicutt and Carl O’Donnell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration plans to donate 500 million Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 doses of coronavirus vaccine to nearly 100 countries over the next two years, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The United States is likely to distribute 200 million injections this year and another 300 million in the first half of next year, they said.
It will donate them to 92 low-income countries and the African Union, they added.
Donations will go through the COVAX vaccine program that distributes COVID-19 injections to low- and middle-income countries and is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).
US President Joe Biden will announce the deal Thursday at the meeting of the Group of Seven of the world’s richest countries in Britain, one of the people said.
The deal was negotiated over the past four weeks by White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients and the coronavirus task force, one of the sources said.
The White House and Pfizer declined to comment.
The US president told reporters before boarding Air Force One for Britain that he had a global vaccine strategy and would announce it, but did not offer details.
The White House has been under increasing pressure to push donations of COVID-19 injections to other countries.
The United States has given at least one injection to around 64% of its adult population and has begun vaccinating adolescents, while other countries such as Brazil and India are struggling to obtain the doses they desperately need.
“This action sends an incredibly powerful message about America’s commitment to helping the world fight this pandemic,” said Tom Hart, Acting Executive Director of The ONE Campaign, a nonprofit working to end poverty. extreme disease and preventable diseases by 2030.
The Biden administration had said it would share 80 million doses of vaccines worldwide by the end of June. The White House earlier this year pledged $ 4 billion for COVAX and urged other countries to increase donations as well.
GAVI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pfizer has said it expects to produce up to 3 billion COVID-19 injections in 2021 and more than 4 billion next year.
The New York Times reported that the United States will buy the doses at a “not-for-profit” price, citing people familiar with the deal. They also reported that Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla will accompany Biden during the announcement.
The deal adds to the 300 million injections the United States has already purchased from Pfizer and brings the total number of Pfizer / BioNTech injections purchased by the United States to 800 million, the Times said.
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