US announces plan to share 80 million Covid-19 vaccine doses globally by end of June, 75% supply to COVAX
The US government on Thursday announced its plan for sharing its Covid-19 vaccine supply in its efforts to lead the fight against the disease globally. A statement from the White House showed that a framework has been formed to share at least 80 million doses of the vaccine globally by the end of June 2021 and also a plan has been drafted for the first 25 million doses.
According to the framework, 75 per cent of the US vaccine doses would be shared via the Covid-19 vaccines global access (COVAX) program. “The United States will share at least three-quarters of its donated doses through COVAX, supplying U.S. doses to countries in need. This will maximize the number of vaccines available equitably for the greatest number of countries and for those most at-risk within countries. For doses shared through COVAX, the United States will prioritize Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa, in coordination with the African Union,” the statement said.
Also, the remaining 25 per cent of the supplies have been pledged for catering to immediate needs and in fighting surging Covid-19 infections around the world. Many countries have requested the US government for vaccines, the statement said. “The U.S. will share up to one-quarter of its donated doses directly with countries in need, those experiencing surges, immediate neighbors, and other countries that have requested immediate U.S. assistance,” it further said.
First 25 million doses
Of the first 25 million doses, nearly 19 million doses would be shared with COVAX. Central American and South American countries, namely, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, as well as the Dominican Republic, would approximately receive 6 million doses.
Meanwhile, Asian countries such as India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, and the Pacific Islands, have been allotted approximately 7 million doses. Also, 5 million doses have been earmarked for African countries that would be selected by the African Union.
Remaining 6 million doses have been allotted for regional priorities and partner partner recipients including Mexico, Canada, and the Republic of Korea, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as for United Nations frontline workers.
What vaccines are being shared ?
The first 25 million doses would comprise Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna shots, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients told a press briefing on the day. He also said that the Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) is yet to approve the 60 million AstraZeneca shots, which President Joe Biden had earlier promised to share.
In a welcome move, the White House also said that the restrictions on export of raw materials under the Defense Production Act for the AstraZeneca and the Novovax shots would be eased, which would benefit India, where both vaccines are being manufactured.