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Joe Biden announces international Covid-19 vaccine sharing plan

The US has said it plans to share 80 million vaccine doses globally by the end of this month.

THE US WILL donate 75% of its unused Covid-19 vaccines to the UN-backed Covax global vaccine sharing programme, President Joe Biden has announced.

The White House unveiled the allocation for sharing the first 25 million doses with the world.

The US has said it plans to share 80 million vaccine doses globally by the end of June.

The administration says 25% will be kept in reserve for emergencies and for the US to share directly with allies and partners.

“As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, the American people will still be vulnerable,” Biden said.

“And the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.”

Of the first 25 million doses, the White House says about 19 million will go to Covax, with approximately six million for South and Central America, seven million for Asia, and five million for Africa.

The doses mark a substantial – and immediate – boost to the lagging Covax effort, which to date has shared just 76 million doses with poorer countries.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the US “will retain the say in terms of where” the doses distributed through Covax ultimately go.

“We’re not seeking to extract concessions, we’re not extorting, we’re not imposing conditions the way that other countries who are providing doses are doing; we’re doing none of those things,” said Sullivan.

“These are doses that are being given, donated free and clear to these countries, for the sole purpose of improving the public health situation and helping end the pandemic.”

The remaining six million will be directed by the White House to US allies and partners, including Mexico, Canada, and the Republic of Korea, the West Bank and Gaza, India, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Yemen, as well as for United Nations frontline workers.

The long-awaited vaccine sharing plan comes as demand for shots in the US has dropped significantly as more than 63% of adults have received at least one dose, and as global inequities in supply have become more glaring.

Many countries have requested doses from the United States, but to date only Mexico and Canada have received a combined 4.5 million doses.

The US also has announced plans to share enough shots with South Korea to vaccinate its 550,000 troops who serve alongside American service members on the peninsula. White House Covid-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients said that one million Johnson & Johnson doses were being shipped to South Korea on Thursday.

Biden has committed to providing other nations with all 60 million domestically produced doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. That vaccine has yet to be authorised for use in the US but is widely approved around the world.

The US-produced doses will be available to ship as soon as they clear a safety review by the Food and Drug Administration.

The White House says the initial 25 million doses will be shipped from existing production of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocks. Even more doses are expected to be made available to share in the months ahead.

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