The US will buy 500 million more doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to share through the global COVAX alliance for donation to 92 lower income countries and the African Union over the next year, the AP reports, citing "a person familiar with the matter." President Joe Biden was set to make the announcement Thursday in a speech before the start of the Group of Seven summit. Two hundred million doses—enough to fully protect 100 million people—would be shared this year, with the balance to be donated in the first half of 2022, the person said. National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Wednesday that Biden was committed to sharing vaccines because it was in the public health and strategic interests of the US.
As Biden embarks on his first foreign trip, he is aiming to show "that democracies are the countries that can best deliver solutions for people everywhere," Sullivan said. "As he said in his joint session (address), we were the 'arsenal of democracy' in World War II," Sullivan said. "We're going to be the 'arsenal of vaccines' over this next period to help end the pandemic." The US has faced mounting pressure to outline its global vaccine sharing plan. Inequities in supply around the world have become more pronounced, and the demand for shots in the US—where nearly 64% of adults have received at least one dose—has dropped precipitously. So far, the White House has confirmed plans to share 80 million doses globally by the end of June, most through COVAX.
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