Health

US has sent 400 million COVID vaccine doses to 112 nations: White House

“Today, we will hit a major
milestone in our global effort: 400 million vaccine doses shipped to 112
countries … for free, no strings attached,” White House COVID-19
Coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters at a briefing.

The latest batch includes 3.2 million
doses of the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE vaccine to Bangladesh and 4.7 million
doses to Pakistan, CNN reported earlier on Wednesday, citing a White House
official.

The Biden administration had previously
vowed to donate a second tranche of 500 million doses to the COVAX global
vaccine sharing program, raising its total pledge to some 1.2 billion COVID
vaccine doses, with the latest batch expected to start shipping this month.

Global health experts have said at least
5 billion to 6 billion doses are needed by poorer countries to help protect
them against the coronavirus amid the ongoing pandemic.

Overall COVAX, backed by the World
Health Organization and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, has
delivered more than a billion doses to 144 countries and aims to achieve 70%
COVID-19 immunisation coverage by mid-2022.

Health experts have criticised rich
countries for not doing enough to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible,
singling out the United States in particular for pushing booster shots for
fully vaccinated Americans while much of the world’s population awaits first
shots.

Experts and leaders from developing
nations have also warned that vaccine hoarding by wealthy nations could lead to
the emergence of new concerning coronavirus variants.

The White House on Wednesday defended
its efforts, saying it had shipped more free doses than any other nation.

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“Put America’s leadership into
perspective. We have shipped four times more free doses to the world than any
other country,” Zients told reporters.

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