President Biden, under pressure to address the global shortage of coronavirus vaccines, announced on Thursday that the United States will purchase 500 million doses of vaccine and use it by about 100 low- and middle-income countries for the next year.
“It is about our responsibility, our humanitarian obligation, to save as many lives as we can,” he said. Biden said in a speech in England before the meeting of the group of 7 rich democracies. “When we see people all over the world hurting and suffering, we try to help in any way.”
In recent months, affluent countries with robust vaccination campaigns have moved rapidly toward vaccinating large sections of their population, but much of the world, especially Africa, lags far behind, raising fears of more deadly waves hitting fragile health care systems. can overwhelm and cause new calf. virus variant.
As G7 leaders prepare to meet with England on Friday, they promise to help narrow the gap. Mr. Biden said the G7 would announce a broader global strategy to combat the pandemic.
“America knows firsthand the tragedies of this pandemic,” he added after suffering more than 600,000 deaths – “more deaths from Covid-19 in the United States than from the First World War, World War II, the Vietnam War and 9/11, combined. ”
The donation of 500 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech is by far the largest yet in a single country, but it will vaccinate only about 3 percent of the world’s population. The United States will pay $ 1.5 billion for the Pfizer BioNTech shots, about $ 3 apiece, which Pfizer described as a ‘non-profit’ price – much less than the $ 20 it pays for domestic use has.
“The United States provides these half a billion doses without strings attached,” he said. Biden said. “We are doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That’s it. Period. ”
The first 200 million doses will be distributed by the end of this year, followed by 300 million by next year in June, Mr. Biden and Pfizer said. The doses will be distributed by Covax, the international co-initiative, which is lagging behind at the expected rate of dose distribution.
In a statement released on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting the summit as Britain takes over the G7 presidency this year, said it was crucial to use the moment for uniform action against the pandemic.
“The world needs this meeting,” he said. “We have to be honest: international order and solidarity have been shaken badly by Covid. “Nations have been reduced to beggar-my-neighbor tactics in the desperate search for PBT, for drugs – and eventually for vaccines,” he added, referring to personal protective equipment.
He said now is the time to ‘put those days behind us’.
“This is the moment for the world’s largest and most technologically advanced democracies to fulfill their responsibilities and vaccinate the world, because no one can be properly protected until everyone is protected,” he added. “
“We need to end Covid-19, not just at home, but everywhere,” he said. Biden said Wednesday night to U.S. troops at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. ‘There is no wall high enough to protect us from this pandemic or the next biological threat we face, and there will be others. It requires coordinated multilateral action. ”