On Wednesday, the United States government announced that it will be receiving an additional 500 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech to be donated to low and lower-middle-income countries.
This move represents an expansion of the companies’ existing agreement with the U.S. government to provide extra vaccine doses at a not-for-profit price for less-advantaged nations, thereby bringing the total number of doses to be supplied for donation to these countries to a billion.
According to Pfizer, the U.S. government will allocate these doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine to 92 low and lower-middle-income countries and the 55 member states of the African Union.
Deliveries of the initial 500 million doses began in August, and the total 1 billion doses under the expanded agreement are expected to be delivered by the end of Sept. 2022, the company added.
More than 30 million doses have been shipped to 22 countries after the first doses allocated through the same program arrived in Rwanda in mid-August.
In line with achieving the aim of the WHO, as well as, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations which is to provide poorer countries with early access to Covid-19 vaccines, an agreement was entered into with Pfizer and BioNTech to supply vaccine doses to the COVAX Facility.
However, the United States and other developed nations have had surplus supplies of the vaccines, thanks to a large number of vaccines produced speedily last year and authorized for emergency use before they were rolled out to their general populations in mass vaccination campaigns.
Although, millions of people around the world are still not vaccinated and do not have access to these Covid vaccines which greatly reduce the risk of severe Covid infection, hospitalization, and death.
What you should know
- Recall that, last week the task force of International organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization, and World Trade Organization expressed concerns over the possibility that most countries would be unable to achieve the 40% population immunization target by the end of 2021.
- Hence, a meeting was held with the CEOs of leading vaccine manufacturing companies to discuss strategies to improve the access to COVID-19 vaccines, especially in low and lower middle-income countries and in Africa.
- In addition, The WHO (World Health Organization) urged wealthy nations to make shots available for poorer countries who are far behind on the required vaccination threshold.