Biden: U.S. will be ‘arsenal of vaccines’ for the world

Speaking from the White House May 17, President Biden said the U.S. is working to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the world. (© Evan Vucci/AP Images)

In April, the Biden-Harris administration pledged 60 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to other nations. Now, on May 17, President Biden announced a donation of 20 million more. It’s part of an expanding U.S. push to end the global pandemic.

The additional vaccines, produced by U.S. manufacturers Pfizer, Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson, bring to 80 million the total number of vaccines the United States will donate by the end of June. Delivery of AstraZeneca vaccines is pending the vaccine’s authorization by U.S. regulators.

“We need to help fight the disease around the world to keep us safe here at home and to do the right thing of helping other people,” Biden said from the White House.

The United States will provide the vaccines through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility to ensure they are equitably distributed. COVAX is an international partnership seeking to distribute 2 billion vaccine doses against COVID-19 by the end of 2021.

These 80 million vaccines are just part of a series of U.S. contributions that include:

  • $2 billion contribution to COVAX through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, an international partnership supporting immunizations worldwide.
  • Plans to donate $2 billion more.
  • Shipment of medical supplies and treatments to other countries, including India.
  • A March pledge of 4 million AstraZeneca doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Canada and Mexico.

The 80 million doses that the United States will contribute are five times more than any other country has shared to date.

Biden said the United States is ramping up efforts to produce and distribute vaccines for the world.

“Just as in World War Two America was the arsenal of democracy, in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, our nation is going to be the arsenal of vaccines for the rest of the world,” Biden said.

Congress recently approved $11.5 billion in funding to help nations battle the pandemic, and the Biden administration is supporting negotiations to waive intellectual property rights to allow other countries to produce vaccines more quickly.

At the Group of Seven (G7) meeting in the United Kingdom in June, Biden will announce additional progress in U.S. efforts with international partners to distribute vaccines.