President Biden is set to announce that the US is doubling its purchase of Pfizer's COVID-19 shots to share with the world to 1 billion doses as he embraces the goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population within the next year, per the AP. The stepped-up commitment is to be the cornerstone of the global vaccination summit Biden is convening virtually Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, where he plans to push well-off nations to do more to get the coronavirus under control. World leaders, aid groups and global health organizations are growing increasingly vocal about the slow pace of global vaccinations and the inequity of access to shots between residents of wealthier and poorer nations. More than 5.9 billion COVID-19 doses have been administered globally over the past year, representing about 43% of the global population.
But there are vast disparities in distribution, with many lower-income nations struggling to vaccinate even the most vulnerable share of their populations, and some yet to exceed 2% to 3% vaccination rates. The World Health Organization says only 15% of promised donations of vaccines—from rich countries that have access to large quantities of them—have been delivered, while aid groups warn that the persistent inequities risk extending the global pandemic, and that could lead to new and more dangerous variants. The US purchase will bring the total US vaccination commitment to more than 1.1 billion doses through 2022, two senior Biden administration officials tell the AP. At least 160 million shots supplied by the US have been distributed to more than 100 countries, representing more donations than the rest of the world combined.
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