PRESIDENT Joe Biden announced Thursday the US will donate 75 percent of its unused COVID-19 vaccines to the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing program, acting as more Americans have been vaccinated and global inequities have become more glaring.
Of the first tranche of 25 million doses, the White House said about 19 million will go to COVAX, with approximately 6 million for South and Central America, 7 million for Asia and 5 million for Africa.
The doses mark a substantial — and immediate — boost to the lagging COVAX effort, which to date has shared just 76 million doses with needy countries.
Overall, the White House aims to share 80 million doses globally by the end of June, most through COVAX. But 25 percent of the nation’s excess will be kept in reserve for emergencies and for the US to share directly with allies and partners.
“As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, the American people will still be vulnerable,” Biden said in a statement.
“And the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.”