The United States said Tuesday it has distributed more than 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses overseas — more than all other countries combined — as President Joe Biden touts his record on countering the Delta variant cutting a deadly swath across the planet.
The announcement, which follows the administration belatedly achieving its July 4 target for getting 70 percent of American adults at least one shot, marked “just the beginning” of US efforts to help the world battle the pandemic, the White House said.
The availability of vaccines saw the daily toll of new cases drop dramatically in many countries through the spring, but the highly contagious Delta variant has since been driving surging infections.
The United States has shipped 111.7 million doses to 60 countries, mostly through the international vaccine distribution system known as Covax, but also in conjunction with organizations such as the African Union and the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM.
Major recipients of donated vaccine shots include Indonesia, the Philippines, Colombia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan and South Africa.
The administration said it does not use vaccines to curry favor with other countries and wants simply to save lives, while China and Russia have been accused of engaging in so-called “vaccine diplomacy.”
– Disney, Google, Facebook –
Tech and entertainment giants such as Disney, Google and Facebook have said they will obligate employees to get vaccinated.
Biden initially set July 4, Independence Day in the United States, for at least partially vaccinating 70 percent of adults, but vaccination rates declined precipitously, especially in traditional conservative areas such as the South and Midwest and among young people, poor people and ethnic minorities.
Biden has seen his approval rating drop recently, although it remains above 50 percent.
And the White House was criticized for inaction as a moratorium on evictions expired, leaving millions of American facing the possibility of homelessness as the pandemic rages.
Originally published as US touts lead role in vaccinating the world as Delta variant surges