US President Joe Biden said Monday that the U.S. will share an additional 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccines with the world in the coming six weeks as domestic demand for shots drops and global disparities in distribution have grown more evident, AP reports.
The doses will come from existing production of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocks, marking the first time that U.S.-controlled doses of vaccines authorized for use in the country will be shared overseas. It will boost the global vaccine sharing commitment from the U.S. to 80 million.
“We know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic that’s raging globally is under control,” Biden said at the White House.
The announcement comes on top of the Biden’s administration’s previous commitment to share about 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in the U.S., by the end of June. The AstraZeneca doses will be available to ship once they clear a safety review by the Food and Drug Administration.
Biden also tapped coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients to lead the administration’s efforts to share doses with the world.
“Our nation’s going to be the arsenal of vaccines for the rest of the world,” Biden said. He added that, compared to other countries like Russia and China that have sought to leverage their domestically produced doses, “we will not use our vaccines to secure favors from other countries.”
The Biden administration hasn’t yet said how the new commitment of vaccines will be shared or which countries will receive them.
To date, the U.S. has shared about 4.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine with Canada and Mexico. Additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine manufactured in the U.S. have begun to be exported as the company has met its initial contract commitments to the federal government.