U.S. Outlines Plan to Ship 55 Million Covid Vaccine Doses Abroad

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The White House on Monday unveiled a plan to distribute 55 million doses of coronavirus vaccine around the world, the rest of 80 million doses that President Biden planned to send to countries desperate for vaccines by the end of June.

Mr Biden has a week and a half to meet his deadline, a task that is made more difficult as the administration tries to change which vaccines manufacturers include in the 55 million portion. Manufacturing problems at an Emergent BioSolutions factory in Baltimore have forced the government to revise their original plan of relying heavily on AstraZeneca’s vaccine for this donation. The White House didn’t say what vaccines it would share on Monday, but people familiar with the operation said the government was working to swap footage from Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for those from AstraZeneca.

The distribution formula followed exactly what the White House announced earlier this month for the first 25 million cans in the President’s pledge. Three quarters of the 55 million doses go to Covax, an international vaccine exchange initiative that helps less wealthy nations. 14 million of these go to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean; 16 million will be distributed to nations across Asia; and 10 million are being sent to countries in Africa.

The remaining quarter will be spread across at least two dozen locations to tackle the virus flood, including Colombia, Argentina, Haiti, the Philippines, Vietnam, Iraq, Ukraine, Bosnia, South Africa, the West Bank and Gaza.

The 80 million doses donation pales in comparison to the Biden government’s announced plan in early June to share 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine over the next 12 months. But with many countries unable to vaccinate even a tiny percentage of their population, global health officials are urging the United States to act as soon as possible to share their vaccine supply.

The gap in vaccination rates between rich and poor countries is wide. According to Oxford University’s Our World in Data project, 86 percent of shots administered worldwide are in high or middle-class countries, while low-income countries account for less than half of one percent.

The federal government has bought far more vaccine than the nation can possibly use and distributed more than the states can manage immediately as the pool of people who want to be vaccinated dwindles. More than 60 million doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are in storage according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the country’s states.

The White House said it was still working on a variety of logistical and regulatory issues related to shipping vaccines overseas, such as: It said it will later publish what specific vaccines will be shared in what amounts.