Biden announces US will share more vaccines globally

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(CNN) President Joe Biden said Monday his administration would share millions more doses of Covid-19 vaccines with other countries in addition to the 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine he has already committed to sharing by July 4.

Biden said the US would share at least 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of next month, totaling 80 million doses that are set to be sent abroad. Those additional 20 million doses will consist of Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well as AstraZeneca, which has to be approved by federal regulators before being shipped overseas. That effort is underway.

“We need to help fight the disease around the world to keep us safe here at home and to do the right thing helping other people. It’s the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do, it’s the strong thing to do,” Biden said in remarks delivered at the White House.

The President said: “We want to lead the world with our values, with this demonstration of our innovation and ingenuity, and the fundamental decency of the American people.”

Biden added that White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients is in charge of this effort, in coordination with the National Security Council and State Department.

The President noted the US was committing to sharing five times more than any other country had donated in Covid-19 vaccines.

“Just as in World War II, America was the arsenal of democracy in the battle against Covid-19 pandemic, our nation is going to be the arsenal of vaccines for the rest of the world,” Biden said, adding “just as democracies led the world in the darkness of World War II, democracies will lead the world out of this pandemic.”

Biden said US would “not use our vaccines to secure favors” from other nations.

He said Monday’s announcement was the latest effort by his administration to ramp up efforts abroad and work with other world leaders to end the pandemic. Biden said he expected to announce progress on beating the pandemic overseas at the G7 summit in June.

CNN previously reported Biden would announce the US would share more vaccines globally.

Bloomberg was first to report the news of the additional doses being shared.

As more and more Americans get vaccinated against Covid-19, the Biden administration has been taking steps toward helping other nations get their populations vaccinated as the pandemic worsens globally.

Last month, the Biden administration committed to sharing up to 60 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses, which will not be needed in the US, in the following two months.

The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is not one of the three vaccines that has received emergency use authorization in the US — only the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been cleared for use.

In February, Biden said a $2 billion in US contribution would go toward a global coronavirus vaccine initiative. The funding — which Biden announced on a call with G7 leaders — will provide support to Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX. That initiative is led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, along with the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Biden also pledged an additional $2 billion in funding contingent on contributions from other nations and dose delivery targets being met.

The President has said there will be enough Covid-19 vaccine supply for every American adult by the end of this month. Nearly 123 million Americans are fully vaccinated in the US and nearly 60% of US adults have received at least one dose, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The US Food and Drug Administration also recently approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 15.