Americans will be first to get vaccines, Biden says

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Mar 11, 2021, 09:12 AM(IST)

Joe Biden and his orders Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Biden spoke on Wednesday as the US Congress adopted the $19 trillion Covid relief plan. He also announced plans to procure an additional 100 million doses of the Covid vaccine.

The US government will first give Americans COVID-19 vaccines, but any surplus would be shared with the world, President Joe Biden has said.

Biden spoke on Wednesday as the US Congress adopted the $19 trillion Covid relief plan. He also announced plans to procure an additional 100 million doses of the Covid vaccine.

"We're going to start off and ensure Americans are taken care of first, but we're then going to try to help the rest of the world," Biden told reporters following an earlier announcement to secure more vaccines with the chief executives of Johnson & Johnson and Merck.

"If we have a surplus, we're going to share it with the rest of the world," Biden said, adding that the United States had already committed to providing $4 billion to the COVAX global initiative to distribute vaccines in developing countries.

The Democratic president said it was clear that the pandemic would not be over until it was ended everywhere.

"We're not going to be ultimately safe, until the world is safe," he said.

Biden said that on Thursday he would deliver a primetime address to the American people and talk about what the country has been through as a nation this past year. 

"More importantly, I'm going to talk about what comes next. I am going to launch the next phase of the COVID response and explain what we will do as a government and what we will ask of the American people," he said.

Also read | Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid bill wins final approval in House

"There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel over the past year. We cannot let our guard down now or assume the victory is inevitable. Together, we are going to get through this pandemic and usher in a healthier and more hopeful future," Biden said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that Biden was deeply focussed on expanding global vaccinations, but the US government was pushing to first ensure sufficient doses for people in the United States who wanted to get vaccinated. She said Biden was discussing the need to ensure vaccines got to developing countries with his counterparts, but gave no details.

The United States, Britain, European Union nations and other richer members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Wednesday blocked a push by more than 80 developing countries to waive patent rights in an effort to boost production of COVID-19 vaccines for poor nations.

South Africa and India are leading the push for a temporary waiver of the rules of the WTO's Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement, a move that could allow generic or other manufacturers to make more vaccines.

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