The UN-backed COVAX program, to help supply vaccines around the world, got a boost today as US President Biden vowed that America will donate 25 million vaccines to start. The donation would make up nearly 25% of all vaccines procured through the COVAX program to date. The UN effort seeks to bulk up vaccine supplies in Asia, Africa, and South and Central America, as the US has vaccinated a majority of its citizens and is growing a surplus of jabs.
President Biden has stated that by the end of June the US intends to donate 80 million vaccines, a huge boon while the World Health Organisation expresses concerns for a surge in Covid-19 in Africa and the near halt of vaccine arrival. The US will keep 25% of its surplus as an emergency reserve for America and its allies and partners.
The US National Security advisor stated that the United States will control where vaccines donated to the COVAX programme will be allocated. More than 7 million vaccines are earmarked for Asia in the first disbursement, with about 5 million going to Africa and about 6 million to South and Central America as well. 6 million more vaccines we’ll go to allies and partners like UN front line workers, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Israel’s West Bank and Gaza, Egypt, Jordan, Haiti, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo, and Yemen.
President Biden has expressed the belief that Americans are still at risk as long as Covid-19 exist in the world, and so the US donation of vaccines abroad is part of a global well being. The National Security advisor furthered this sentiment by stressing that the vaccine donations are given without any obligation or expectation, implying that other nations had not been as altruistic.
“We’re not seeking to extract concessions, we’re not extorting, we’re not imposing conditions the way that other countries who are providing doses are doing.”
The donated vaccines are set for shipment as quickly as logistics can be worked out. Mexico and Canada have already received 4.5 million vaccines from the US, and plans were announced to vaccinate 550,000 South Korean troops serving with American Military in Korea.
While the US Deputy Secretary of State visited Thailand to assure a donation of vaccines, American expats begged in an open letter for the donation to come with a guarantee of inoculation for Americans abroad who pay US taxes which pay for the vaccines but have often not had access to get vaccinated themselves.
The US has already committed over US $4 billion to COVAX but right now quick access to vaccines is needed more than money. Poor countries have been unable to secure vaccine supplies that are quickly snatched up by more wealthy nations. In the United States, surpluses grow while 63% of adults have had at least one jab and vaccine demand is shrinking.
Part of this donation of vaccines may be righting a former wrong, as the US originally made deals with Pfizer and Moderna controlling their production as part of their purchase terms, blocking exports earlier in the vaccine rollout. the first 25 million donated vaccines will come from stockpiles of these & Johnson & Johnson vaccine. President Biden also committed the donating 60 million AstraZeneca vaccines that were manufactured in the US but not approved for use in the US yet.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World