U.S. to split 55 million doses between Latin America, Asia and Africa

A person being vaccinated at the start of provincial roadshows to raise public support for vaccination against COVID 19 at Moses Mabhida People’s Park on June 8, 2021 in Durban, South Africa.

Darren Stewart | Gallo Pictures | Getty Images

The Biden government announced Monday that it would be sending 55 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa as the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in low and middle income countries.

The 55 million vaccine doses are the remaining portion of 80 million vaccinations that President Joe Biden has pledged to donate overseas. Earlier this month, the government announced that it would send the first 25 million doses to South and Central America, Asia, Africa, neighboring countries and US allies.

The US plans to distribute 75% of its initial 80 million doses through COVAX, the nonprofit that distributes vaccines primarily to poor countries, while the remainder will be sent to countries currently struggling with a surge in new infections, the said Government on Monday with.

The government said about 14 million cans will go to locations in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Panama Costa Rica.

About 16 million will go to countries in Asia such as India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand, the government said. About 10 million cans will go to Africa and are expected to be shared with countries selected in coordination with the African Union, it said.

Another 14 million will be shared with “regional priorities and other beneficiaries” such as Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia and Ukraine, the government said.

“The exchange of millions of US vaccines with other countries signals great commitment by the US government,” the government said in a press release detailing its plan. “As with our domestic response, we will act as quickly as possible while complying with US and host country regulatory and legal requirements.”

The announcement comes on Monday as more than half of the US population has received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine and new cases and deaths have fallen sharply.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 177 million Americans, or 53.3% of the population, had received at least one injection as of Sunday. More than 149 million Americans are fully vaccinated, according to the agency.

However, the pandemic outlook in other countries is grim as some places like Africa are reporting an increasingly worrying rise in Covid cases.

The World Health Organization urges wealthy nations to donate cans. Many countries have pledged to distribute millions of syringes around the world, but WHO officials say these doses must get to low-income countries immediately and without delay.

Earlier this month, the government announced it would buy 500 million more doses of the Pfizer Covid vaccine to share through the global COVAX alliance for donation to 92 low-income countries and the African Union over the next year.

The government said the cans were an important “part of our overall global effort to defeat the world in the fight against COVID-19 and achieve global health security”.

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