WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The U.S. will buy 500 million more doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to share through the global COVAX alliance for donation to 92 lower income countries and the African Union over the next year, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday.
President Joe Biden was set to make the announcement Thursday in a speech before the start of Group of Seven summit. According to the source, 200 million doses — enough to fully protect 100 million people — would be shared this year, with the balance to be donated in the first half of 2022.
The person confirmed the announcement to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
The announcement comes days after the White House unveiled its plans to begin sharing the existing U.S. vaccine surplus with the world.
As demand for vaccines in the United States dropped significantly, global inequities in supply have become more glaring. The White House Thursday unveiled Biden’s plans to share U.S. COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, including its intent to direct 75% of excess doses through the U.N.-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing program.
The administration said 25% of doses will be kept in reserve for emergencies to help with surges around the world and to share directly with allies and partners. The White House has previously stated its intent to share 80 million vaccine doses with the world by the end of June.
To date 63.8% of the adult U.S. population have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 137.2 million are fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The pace of new vaccinations in the U.S. has dropped below 400,000 people per day — down from a high of nearly 2 million per day two months ago.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.
All reporting by AP’s Zeke Miller. The Associated Press contributed to this report.