WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday announced which countries will receive 55 million doses of the U.S.'s supply of Covid-19 vaccines as part of President Joe Biden's pledge to share 80 million shots globally by the end of June.
Roughly 41 million doses will be shared through COVAX — a humanitarian program run in part by the World Health Organization that aims to distribute vaccines fairly — which will allocate approximately 14 million to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, 16 million to Asia and 10 million to Africa.
COVAX's goal is to make 2 billion doses available to countries in need by the end of the year. So far, about 88 million vaccine doses have been shipped to over 131 participants.
Fourteen million of the 55 million doses will also be shared with "regional priorities and other recipients," the White House said. Those countries and regions include: Colombia, Argentina, Haiti, other Caribbean countries, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cabo Verde, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Oman, Ukraine, Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova, Bosnia and West Bank and Gaza.
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The White House said they would announce the specific vaccines and amounts later as the administration works out the logistics.
All 80 million doses Biden committed to share globally by the end of June are now accounted for, following Monday's announcement. The White House announced earlier this month its first wave of commitments, sharing 25 million vaccines with COVAX and governments in need.
Although 80 million vaccines have been allocated, Biden will likely miss his goal of having them delivered to the receiving countries by the end of the month. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that a number of logistical challenges — ranging from transportation hurdles to language barriers — have slowed down the process.
Around 75 percent of the 80 million doses went to COVAX while 25 percent went directly to selected countries, the White House said.
The announcement comes as the vaccination supply is outpacing demand in the U.S. — with roughly 65 percent of adult Americans now having received at least one shot — and as Biden has increasingly shifted his vaccine strategy to focus on worldwide vaccination rates.
The U.S. and other wealthy countries were criticized earlier this year for racing ahead in their vaccine rollouts as poorer countries struggled to obtain vaccines. Experts have warned that global vaccination inequality could prolong the pandemic for everyone if the coronavirus continues to mutate, which could make it more infectious and resistant to vaccines.
While attending the Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, England, earlier this month Biden announced that the U.S. would also purchase and donate half a billion doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine to countries struggling with supply. Those vaccines will be delivered through COVAX starting in August.
"Sharing millions of U.S. vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the U.S. Government," the White House said in a statement, adding that "the United States will not use its vaccines to secure favors from other countries."