U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Thursday, 3 June, that the US will donate 75 per cent of its unused COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX, the UN-backed global vaccine sharing program.
An extra 25 per cent of its unused vaccines will be shared with US allies.
Overall, the White House plans to distribute 80 million vaccine doses by the end of June.
The announcement will be an immediate boost to the lagging COVAX effort, which to date has only shared 76 million doses to needy countries. Hours earlier, WHO officials in Africa had renewed their pleas for additional vaccines, saying that shipments to the continent had ground to “a near halt” while infections continue to spike.
It is estimated that of the initial 19 million doses distributed through COVAX, roughly 7 million will go to Asia, 6 million to South and Central America and 5 million to Africa.
In a statement, President Biden said: “As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, the American people will still be vulnerable.”
“And the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.”
The remaining doses will be distributed to U.S. allies and strategic partners in the Americas, the Middle East and Asia, as well as to UN frontline workers.