President Joe Biden’s administration announced on Tuesday that the U.S. has donated more than 110 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 65 countries as a part of an effort to try and stop the spread of the Delta variant.
The majority of the vaccines were manufactured in the United States and were shipped through COVAX and other global partners like the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
COVAX is a global initiative whose aim is the equal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. The Alliance is directed by the Vaccine Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, (Gavi), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO begun the initiative in April 2020, in partnership with the European Commission, and the government of France as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVAX coordinates international resources to enable low-income countries to access the vaccine.
In a June statement, Biden said that his administration supports suspending the intellectual rights to the vaccine.
“My administration supports efforts to temporarily waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines because, over time, we need more companies producing life-saving doses of proven vaccines that are shared equitably,” said Biden in a press statement.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday that the United States is the greatest contributor of vaccines to the global effort.
“With the announcement today, we will have donated more to the world than all of the countries in the UN, including Russia and China, combined, and this is just the beginning. We are going to continue to be a provider of vaccines and assistance to the global community in our fight against COVID,” said Psaki.
Biden outlined how the vaccines were to be distributed.
“At least 75 percent of these doses—nearly 19 million—will be shared through COVAX, including approximately 6 million doses for Latin America and the Caribbean, approximately 7 million for South and Southeast Asia, and approximately 5 million for Africa, working in coordination with the African Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” he said.
The remaining 6 million doses, would be shared with countries in crisis because of surging cases, including Canada, Mexico, India, and the Republic of Korea.
The Biden administration said it looks at some key factors to determine which countries should receive the donation of vaccines, including infection “case rates, death rates, and hospitalizations; current vaccination rates; responses to surges; and a country’s ability to receive vaccines and put shots into arms.”
The Biden administration said the effort is focused on saving lives and is not in any way done to “secure favor” from any government. Countries like India are at the top of the administration’s list because of the recent surge there of the Delta variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed the administration’s goal of stopping COVID deaths in India during a press briefing with India’s Minister of External Affairs on July 28. According to John Hopkins University India had 31,726,507 confirmed cases of COVID and over 400,000 deaths.
“[COVID] hit both of our countries very, very hard. We remember with gratitude and we will not soon forget the aid and assistance that India provided to us in the early days of COVID-19 when our hospitals were overwhelmed early in the pandemic,” said Blinken.
“Over the past few months, the United States Government has contributed more than $200 million to India for COVID-19 relief, and there’s been a huge outpouring from individual Americans from the private sector in support as well,” he said.
“Today, I am pleased to announce that the United States Government will send an additional $25 million to support vaccination efforts across India,” he added.