President Biden announced Thursday evening that the United States plans to donate 500 million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses globally as part of his efforts to reassert US leadership on the world stage.
“America knows first-hand the tragedy of this pandemic. We’ve had more people die in the United States than anywhere in the world, nearly 600,000 of our fellow Americans,” Biden said in remarks after meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
He added, “We know the tragedy. We also know the path to recovery.”
The move will also serve to counter efforts by Russia and China to use their own state-funded vaccines to expand their global influence.
During remarks announcing the vaccine purchase, Biden underscored that there were no strings attached with accepting the US-bought vaccines.
‘Let me be clear: Just as with the 80 million doses we previously announced, the United States is providing these half-(billion) doses with no strings attached,” Biden said. “Our vaccine donations don’t include pressure for favors or potential concessions. We’re doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That’s it. Period.”
Administration officials suggested the move is part of a broader effort for the world’s democracies to lead the way in pandemic recovery. The effort to donate doses is also intended to encourage other US allies to step up.
“We’re also using this announcement today to leverage and mobilize larger commitments from the world’s democracies, from the G7 and partner countries,” a separate senior official said, previewing a “G7 Covid-related multilateral announcement.”
At the G7 summit this weekend, the official said, leaders will announce a “collective effort by the world’s democracies to beat Covid-19 for once and for all.”
Here are other key things to know about the donation:
- With regards to the timeline, officials said the Pfizer doses will begin to ship in August and 200 million doses will be delivered by the end of this year.
- The remaining 300 million doses will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
- They will be manufactured in the US, the officials said, “employing thousands of workers” in states like Michigan, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
- The cost will be around $1.5 billion, which will come from previously allocated funds in the American Rescue Plan relief package passed earlier this year.