The U.S. will purchase 500 million Pfizer vaccine doses to distribute across the globe as pandemic aid, the White House announced Wednesday.
President Joe Biden will unveil the aid, first reported by The Washington Post, as part of his global COVID-19 strategy during his trip to the G-7 summit in the U.K. this week. Roughly 200 million doses will be delivered by the end of 2021, with the remaining 300 million shipping before July 2022, according to the White House.
“President Biden has been clear that borders cannot keep this pandemic at bay and has vowed that our nation will be the arsenal of vaccines,” the White House said in a statement. “The historic step the President will announce today therefore protects the health of the American people and the people throughout the world who will benefit from these life-saving vaccines.”
The administration had previously announced plans to deliver 80 million coronavirus vaccine doses across the globe by the end of June.
“As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, the American people will still be vulnerable,” Biden said of vaccine in early June. “And the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.”
It is unclear whether the U.S. plans to purchase any Johnson & Johnson or Moderna vaccine doses for international aid.
“We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions,” he added. “We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic, with the power of our example and with our values.”
Biden had made clear in the opening days of his administration that the U.S. would focus on vaccinating Americans first before turning its attention to global need. More than 50% of Americans now have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and there is more than enough supply for those remaining. (RELATED: Daily US Coronavirus Case Counts Are The Lowest Now Than At Any Point In The Pandemic)
Many of the additional 500 million doses are likely to go to Covax, a World Health Organization-backed program that aims to deliver 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to developing countries by the end of 2021.
Discussion of the global vaccine strategy is likely to be a top priority throughout the G-7 summit, as the powerful nations represented there will provide virtually all of the supply.