According to White House sources, The Biden Administration is purchasing up to 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for distribution to other nations that need it. 200 million of those doses will be donated sometime this year, and the remaining 300 million in the first half of 2022.
The doses of the vaccine will be shared by COVAX, a W.H.O backed initiative to share and distribute to third-world countries in need of the vaccines. Pfizer is providing the vaccine doses to the U.S. at an alleged “not for profit” price.
The president is expected to announce the plan during the annual Group of Seven meeting – AKA the G7 summit – in Britain this week, which would likely include Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla.
Some public health officials have praised the decision. “It’s an extraordinary development,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, who is an epidemiologist and senior scholar at John Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It sends a profound signal in terms of U.S. commitment to global health security and willingness to help end this pandemic for the world and the United States.”
According to Thomas Bollyky, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who is also the director of its global health program, the decision “is meaningful, but not sufficient on its own.”
“These Pfizer doses will go to many countries,” he said. “The big question is, in what order and what amount? That will have a significant bearing on what the public health impact of the commitment will be.”
“We won’t end this global pandemic anywhere unless we beat it everywhere,'” says Tom Hart, who is acting CEO of the One Campaign, an org to bring an end to global poverty and disease. “Donating doses to COVAX will save lives, reduce the spread of variants, and help reopen global economy. We urge other G-7 countries to follow the U.S. and donate more doses to COVAX. If there was ever a time for global ambition and action to end the pandemic, it’s now.”
Sources: The Week, Washington Post.