More doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be going to Africa from the United States, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday.
They said the United States will buy and donate 500 million more doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the rest of the world to be shared through the global COVAX alliance to 92 million lower income countries and the African Union.
The development comes as President Joseph R. Biden Jr. prepares to embark on his first foreign trip since inauguration in January.
He is expected to make the announcement Thursday in a speech before the start of the Group of Seven summit.
While over half of the United States population has had at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, fewer than 2 percent of people in Africa have received a dose.
“We’ve all during this pandemic acknowledged that Africa is lagging behind- and lagging behind seriously- in the battle against this very deadly disease,” said John Nkengasong, director of the Africa CDC on Tuesday.
The disparity in vaccination numbers between wealthy and low-income countries has caused many to fear that the pandemic will worsen global inequality as the coronavirus continues to devastate many developing nations.
The African Union’s current goal is to vaccinate at least 60 percent of the continent’s population, roughly 750 million people, by the end of 2022.