The United States will buy and donate 500 million more doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the rest of the world, people familiar with the decision said on Wednesday, as President Joseph R. Biden Jr. prepares to embark on his first foreign trip since inauguration in January.
The millions of vaccine doses will be shared through the global COVAX alliance to 92 million lower income countries and the African Union.
At least 200 million doses will be donated by the end of this year and 300 million more next year.
The Pfizer vaccine requires two shots to fully protect against the coronavirus, meaning the 500 million doses will be able to protect about 250 million people.
President Biden’s who is leaving Washington D.C. on Wednesday for the G7 and a summit with President Vladimir Putin of Russia is expected to make the announcement Thursday in a speech before the start of the Group of Seven summit.
Africa, with over 1.3 billion people, has seen a vaccination rate below 1 percent.
More than 3.7 million people have died from the virus so far from over 174 million infections.