The United States will distribute 25 million Covid vaccines as part of an introductory part of the 80 million doses President Biden has promised to share internationally, Foreign Ministry Coordinator for Global Covid-1
The United States will distribute 25% of the first batch bilaterally, Smith said.
“It gives us more flexibility, and as we have seen, there are a lot of pop-ups and flares in this pandemic, and we want to be able to move vaccines on an urgent basis if necessary,” Smith said. She added that the “current expectation” is that the vaccines will be produced by AstraZeneca.
The remaining 75% of the first batch of U.S. vaccines will go to COVAX, the international group focused on global vaccine distribution, Smith said, adding that the Biden administration has “identified the countries we want these vaccines to go to.”
About 6 million doses will be distributed across Latin America, including the Caribbean, 7 million will go to South and Southeast Asia, and 5 million to Africa, Smith said.
“This is the first round, this is just the beginning,” Smith said. She was unable to say when the 55 million doses that make up the total of 80 million vaccines would be delivered.
Going forward, the Biden administration will continue a three-pronged strategy to maximize vaccine supply by dividing doses, and encourage U.S. manufacturers to increase vaccine production “by the last quarter, if not earlier, this year, and well into next year,” Smith said. The administration will also work to improve global vaccine production by increasing production capacity “so that there are more places in the world that produce and can distribute vaccines,” Smith said.
“Our goal is to end the pandemic and maximize it as quickly as we can,” Smith said. “It is in our interest to do this, our own health security is in jeopardy … none of us are safe until we are all safe.”