by Miceál O’Hurley
DUBLIN – The Embassy of the United States of America (Dublin), has heralded the decision of President Joe Biden to purchase half-billion Covid-19 vaccine doses to assist nearly 100 developing countries to fight the pandemic. The vaccines will be purchased by the United States as a donation to COVAX, an international distribution management organisation helping to address vaccine poverty around the globe. Information about the donation appeared on the Embassy web site.
The newly announced donation is in addition to the 80 million vaccine doses the United States plans to deliver before the end of June. At least 75% of those doses will also be delivered through COVAX. As a sign of America’s newly reinvigourated commitment to bilateralism and international engagement, President Biden said the United States is donating vaccines unconditionally, not trading them for favors or concessions from other countries. “We’re doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic,” he said. “That’s it. Period.”
Speaking about the Covid-19 vaccine donation in advance of the Group of Seven (G7) nations’ Leaders Meeting earlier in June, President Biden said, “We’re going to help lead the world out of this pandemic, working alongside our global partners.”
According to the government’s Share America web site, on 11 June 2021, the leaders of the G7, joined by other nations, announced that they would donate an additional 500 million vaccine doses combined, raising the total combined pledge to more than 1 billion doses. The G7 nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The doses the United States is donating are highly effective vaccines produced by U.S. biotechnology firm Pfizer and will go to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries through COVAX, which facilitates fair and equitable access to safe and effective vaccines.
America’s donation is the largest ever by any single country. The United States will start shipping the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine doses in August and will deliver 200 million vaccine doses by year-end. The remaining 300 million doses will follow in the first half of 2022.
The United States has also committed $4 billion to COVAX and donates millions in equipment, tests and therapeutics to countries in dire need around the world.