World Health Organization urges countries to follow United States, give vaccine doses to fill gap

Pablo Tucker
June 5, 2021

President Joe Biden announced on Thursday the first details of the US sending 80 million COVID-19 vaccines overseas with the aim of "ending the pandemic globally".

"Today, we're providing more detail on how we will allocate the first 25 million of those vaccines to lay the ground for increased global coverage and to address real and potential surges, high burdens of disease, and the needs of the most vulnerable countries", he added.

While the USA diplomat did not provide any calendar dates on the succeeding arrival of vaccines, he, however, assured that the Philippines will see in the very near future an additional arrival of some Pfizer vaccines through the COVAX facility.

The 25 million doses will comprise three vaccines approved by US regulators - one developed by USA pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE, another by US company Moderna Inc. and a third by Johnson & Johnson, according to a White House official. The gap between USA doses delivered and actually administered has risen to 70 million - much of which are in various stages of distribution.

Soon, the doses that some Americans shun will be diverted overseas, where they will be appreciated by those who are desperate to be inoculated in order to have their lives return to something approaching normalcy.

Earlier in the day, the Centre announced it has finalised a deal with Hyderabad-based Biological-E to reserve 30 crore coronavirus vaccine doses.

The White House will share as much as 80 million vaccine doses by the end of June, with a lot of them going through the COVAX program. One quarter of the US' excess doses will be kept in abeyance, however, in order to deal with emergencies and to be shared directly with its allies and partners, according to officials.

For doses shared through COVAX, the USA plans to prioritise Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa, in coordination with the African Union, the White House said in its statement.

The administration was committed to bringing the same urgency to global vaccination efforts that it demonstrated at home, he added.

The US has agreed to provide some 1 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to South Korea as a result of Biden's May 21 summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Washington. "These are doses being donated free and clear to these countries for the sole objective of improving the public health situation", he said. "We shouldn't tie the distribution or access to vaccines to politics or to geopolitics", he said.

Just ahead of Thursday's announcement, US Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, assuring him that India will benefit from the vaccine sharing plan.

"The good news: For months, vaccine producers have been scaling up production exponentially and sharing intellectual property with manufacturers via licenses to boost global capacity".

The United States confirmed on Friday the Philippines will receive a portion of its surplus COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. also has announced plans to share enough shots with South Korea to vaccinate its 550,000 troops who serve alongside American service members on the peninsula.

Biden said that the remaining six million doses of the initial 25 million will be shared directly with countries experiencing surges or that are in crisis, as well as with partners and neighbors like Canada, Mexico and South Korea. The U.S. -produced doses will be available to ship as soon as they clear a safety review by the Food and Drug Administration.

The brand of vaccines was not divulged by the White House. "It's a good start, and I am hoping that more doses will be made available", World Bank President David Malpass said.

Other reports by iNewsToday