Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. He can be reached on [email protected]
The Group of Seven countries would commit to sharing at least 1 billion doses of the coronavirus with the rest of the world, with 500 million doses coming from the United States alone, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday on the eve of the G7 leaders’ summit in the United Kingdom.
Johnson’s announcement followed U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s disclosure that the United States will be purchasing and donating half a billion doses of Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine with the African Union and low income countries under the COVAX initiative.
About 100 million vaccine doses will come from the United Kingdom with the first 5 million doses going out in the coming weeks, according to the Prime Minister’s office.
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Earlier on Thursday, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced that the U.S. government will purchase half a billion doses of Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines and donate to the African Union and 92 low- and lower middle-income countries and economies as defined by Gavi’s COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
Speaking in St Ives, England, President Biden described it as the largest-ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country, adding that it is a “monumental commitment by the American people.”
He said the vaccines will start shipping in August 2021, with 200 million doses being delivered by the end of this year and the remaining 300 million in the first half of 2022. The U.S. will allocate these doses to low and lower-middle income nations around the world, working through COVAX to deliver them.
The President said the goal of the donation is to save lives and end the coronavirus pandemic everywhere in the world.
Pfizer plans to produce these half a billion doses in the U.S. at their facilities in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which employs more than 3,000 American workers; McPherson, Kansas, which employs almost 2,000 workers; Chesterfield, Missouri, and Andover, Massachusetts, which employ 700 and 1,800 workers.
“Today’s announcement will provide mRNA vaccines that have proven to be highly effective against COVID-19, including against all known variants. Tens of millions of Americans have benefited from these safe and effective vaccines and this historic donation will bring the life-saving benefits these vaccines provide to some of the most vulnerable populations around the world,” the White House said in fact sheet before the President’s speech.
The historic announcement comes on the heels of President Biden’s donation of at least 80 million vaccines from the United States’ supply by the end of June.
Additionally, the United States has contributed two billion dollars to COVAX, more than any other nation—and is supporting local production capacity abroad for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, including through the Quad initiative.