U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “I’m keeping the promise that America will become the arsenal of vaccines…”
Under increasing pressure to share America’s COVID-19 vaccine supply with other nations, U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday promised to donate an additional 500 million Pfizer/BioNTech shots to poorer countries around the world.
That brings the U.S.’s total global commitment to 1.1 billion vaccines so far – more than any other nation.
BIDEN: “Put in another way, for every one shot we have administered to date in America, we have now committed to do 3 shots to the rest of the world.”
This is the second time a 500-million dose allotment will have been purchased by the Biden administration for donation – the first coming last June. Under the terms of that contract, the U.S. paid Pfizer and BioNTech around $3.5 billion, or $7 a dose.
The World Health Organization has criticized wealthier nations like the U.S. for planning booster shots for those fully vaccinated while millions around the world still do not have access to vaccines – something U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres forcefully echoed at this week’s gathering of world leaders in New York.
"This is a moral indictment of the state of our world. It is an obscenity. We passed the science test, but we are getting an F in Ethics.”
Biden on Wednesday alluded to that criticism by saying that as President of the United States, his first responsibility is to protect the American people.
He also called on other wealthy nations to (quote) “deliver on their own vaccine donations and pledges”, as health experts say 5 to 6 billion doses are needed by poorer nations to fight a pandemic that has so far killed nearly 5 million people worldwide.