The Biden administration announced on Thursday its plans to distribute the first 25 million of the 80 million vaccine doses the U.S. intends to send around the world.
Of that 25 million, 19 million or 75% of those doses will be distributed through COVAX, which aims to help the countries most at risk. Doses shared through COVAX will be prioritized for Southeast Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. The remaining 6 million vaccine doses will go toward regions prioritized by the U.S., including to Canada and Mexico. Overall, the Biden administration plans to distribute 80 million excess COVID-19 vaccine doses around the world by the end of the month.
According to the White House, the 25 million doses will include the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, but not AstraZeneca, which is still under review by the Food and Drug Administration.
Specifically, of the 19 million doses being distributed through COVAX, about 6 million will go to Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Roughly 7 million doses will head to India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, and the Pacific Islands. And about 5 million doses will be given to Africa, coordinated by the African Union.
The 6 million doses given directly by the U.S. will go to Mexico, Canada, the Republic of Korea, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Yemen, and to United Nations frontline workers. The U.S. has already shared 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine with neighboring Canada and Mexico.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan emphasized that the U.S. will not trade vaccines for favors. The U.S. has received requests "from all over the world," said Sullivan, who added that achieving global coverage, responding to surges and helping as many doses as possible factored into the Biden administration's decision on how to distribute the vaccine.
Although the U.S. is sharing more surplus doses than any other nation, 25 million and even 80 million is far short of what the world needs to end the pandemic. India alone could benefit from hundreds of millions of doses as the world's largest democracy battles a serious and deadly surge.
"Strong American leadership is essential to ending this pandemic now, and to strengthening global health security for tomorrow—to better prevent, detect, and respond to the next threat. The United States will be the world's arsenal of vaccines in our shared fight against this virus," the president said in a statement.
The process to export those 25 million doses is "underway," according to the White House.