The White House said it would send its first wave of 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks as the administration seeks to ramp up efforts to help countries reeling from vaccine shortages.
Of those doses, 19 million will be shared through the international aid organization COVAX, which will allocate 6 million doses to countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean, including Brazil and Haiti, that have been particularly hard hit. Another 7 million will go to Asian countries, including India, and 5 million will be sent to the African Union to be allocated.
The US will send another 6 million doses directly to governments that have requested doses, are experiencing escalation or urgent, including Mexico, Canada, Korea, the West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq are neighbors. and Yemen. The US will also provide vaccines to UN front-line workers.
The first dose of 80 million President Joe Biden pledged last month to send overseas by the end of June. The White House did not provide a timeline for when those doses would be dispatched, saying only that "specific vaccines and amounts will be determined and shared as administrations are specifically designed for each region and country according to logistical, regulatory and other parameters." works through."
White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeffrey Gents said, "To be clear, our approach is to ensure that vaccines are distributed in a way that is equitable and to follow the latest science of public health data in the coming weeks." " "Administration will proceed as quickly as possible and will work through regulatory requirements and logistics details to ensure safe and secure delivery of doses. This is certainly a complex operational challenge."
Zients said one million doses were headed to South Korea on Thursday evening. Biden committed last month to dose South Korean service members who work directly with US troops.
The US has hit many obstacles trying to get those vaccines out the door, from rounding up extra doses and carrying them on planes to hard calculations of how many doses should go where.
Biden has committed to making sure every American is able to get vaccinated before sharing any doses with other countries, but with shots being sought domestically and only more than half of adults fully vaccinated. Vaccinated, U.S. Have extra supplies. About 70 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have been shipped but have yet to be administered, and the clock is ticking on how long they can sit on shelves before reaching their expiration date. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Administration officials have said it is in the country's national security interest to help with global vaccination efforts because the longer and more widely the coronavirus spreads, the more likely it is to mutate into infectious strains that may be resistant to vaccines. .
Administration officials have said the US effort is also aimed at countering Russia and China, which are sending their vaccines in favor of other countries. Biden has said the US will not use vaccines as a way to create an impact.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, "Our broad objective is to get as many people as possible safe and effective vaccines. It's as simple as that." "We want to save lives and thwart the forms that put us all at risk. But perhaps most importantly, it's the right thing to do."
The administration said distribution of the dose is pending legal and regulatory approval. Of the 80 million doses pledged so far, 60 million came from AstraZeneca – but the administration said it would not release those doses until the vaccine was approved by US regulators, even if it was sold in other countries. has been approved for use in. .
Issues with AstraZeneca's study data have delayed the Food and Drug Administration's review process, and it's unclear when -- or even when -- AstraZeneca's vaccine will get the green light.
The US pledge of 80 million doses - while five times more than any other country - is a tiny fraction of the 1.8 billion shots that international aid group COVAX is targeting to distribute to low- and middle-income countries this year.
Some House Democrats want the U.S. Much more, and do it soon. Representative. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, and Raja Krishnamurthy of Illinois, are circulating a letter to aides encouraging Biden to take "aggressive and immediate steps to ensure that countries around the world have Vaccines should be administered quickly to reduce the level of COVID-19.
The letter, which was obtained by NBC News, called for the immediate release of 80 million doses as well as a $25 billion investment "to oversee the production of 8 billion mRNA vaccine doses, to vaccinate half the world." enough". It is one of the fastest ways to increase the immediate supply of vaccines globally."
The letter calls on the US to organize "a global vaccine summit with world leaders – allies and adversaries", to promote cooperation and coordination in the development, production and distribution of vaccines, research transparency, open To encourage global collaboration in outreach and engineering. and manufacturing with the goal of accelerating universal vaccination"