US President Joe Biden (file photo). Photograph:( Twitter )
The US and other wealthy countries have been criticized by the World Health Organization for their plans to roll out booster shots for elderly and high-risk populations, while much of the world faces a severe shortage in doses
United States President Joe Biden has pledged to buy 500 million Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines and donate it lower-income countries.
The announcement from Biden came during a COVID-19 summit of world leaders that was held virtually from the White House.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck crisis. America will become the arsenal for vaccines as we were the arsenal for democracy in World War II,” Biden said
“The US has already shipped 160 million of these doses to 100 countries. For every one shot we’ve put in an American arm to date, we are now donating three shots globally,” the White House said in a statement. "
The US and other wealthy countries have been criticized by the World Health Organization for their plans to roll out booster shots for elderly and high-risk populations, while much of the world faces a severe shortage in doses.
On Tuesday, in his first speech to the UN as president, Biden told delegates that the United States had put more than $15 billion towards the global Covid response and shipped more than 160 million doses to other countries.
The summit, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, saw Biden and US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield hosting a wide variety of health and foreign leaders.
They included UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and the heads of Britain, Canada, the European Union, Indonesia, and South Africa.
Washington will seek to rally the world around three goals, the administration official said.
These are: increasing vaccine supply; saving lives now by resolving the oxygen crisis and access to testing, medicine and therapeutics; and lastly improving future preparedness.
(With inputs from agencies)