US to send 10pc of vaccines to other countries by July 4: Biden
Published : Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 at 5:49 PM Count : 289
President Joe Biden has said that by July 4 the U.S. will have sent about 10% of the coronavirus vaccines it produced to other countries, reports agencies.
"It's a significant humanitarian commitment in addition to our funding of COVAX, and I'll have more to say about that soon," Biden said, referring to the World Health Organization-led initiative to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
An administration official told CNN that the figure was a reference to the 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, which has not yet been authorized for use in the U.S., that the administration already pledged to send to other countries, including Canada and Mexico.
Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response, tweeted: "By July 4, 10% of vaccines produced for domestic use will be exported to other countries. This is in addition to vaccines manufactured here for export."
The comments come as India faces the worst coronavirus outbreak the world has seen thus far and Western countries face mounting pressure to do more to help.
Biden said he spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is sending him "what he needs most," which is the material and parts for machines to make vaccines.
The president added that his administration is ready to act if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes Pfizer's request to expand use of its COVID-19 vaccine to 12- to-15-year-olds, which it is expected to do by early next week.
"Today, I want American parents to know that if that announcement comes, we are ready to move immediately – immediately move to make about 20,000 pharmacy sites across the country ready to vaccinate those adolescents as soon as the FDA grants it's OK," Biden said on Tuesday.
Some experts have questioned the morality of expanding vaccinations to younger people while other countries lack enough vaccines to cover their most vulnerable populations.