US to give 80 mln vaccine doses to priority nations, 75% via Covax

In a fact sheet, the White House said that for the doses shared through Covax, Washington would prioritize countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa.

FILE: The commitment came amid pressure from other governments to use the United States' large vaccine surplus to help struggling nations now that significant progress has been made in rolling out vaccinations at home. Picture: 123rf.com

WASHINGTON, United States - US President Joe Biden unveiled his plan Thursday for the first of 80 million coronavirus vaccine doses being distributed globally, with 75 percent of shots disbursed via the Covax program.

In a fact sheet, the White House said that for the doses shared through Covax, Washington would prioritize countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa.

"We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions," Biden said in a statement.

"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 earlier pledged to export 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world by the end of June.

The commitment came amid pressure from other governments to use the United States' large vaccine surplus to help struggling nations now that significant progress has been made in rolling out vaccinations at home.

"The process to export the first 25 million is underway," White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters.

"We will deliver on the president's commitment of 80 million doses by the end of June," he said.

Covax is an international scheme cofounded by the World Health Organization that intends to get enough vaccines for 30 percent of the population in 92 of the poorest participating territories -- 20% in India -- with donors covering the cost.

According to the US plan, of its first 25 million doses, about seven million are allocated for Asia, especially India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Taiwan.

Some six million are allocated to nations in South and Central America and the Caribbean, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Guatemala and Haiti.

Five million are reserved for Africa and will be distributed in coordination with the African Union, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said.

"But ultimately, the United States will have the authority to say the doses are going here as opposed to there," he added.

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