Gail Smith, the State Department’s coordinator for the global response to Covid-19 and health security, said the United States will distribute 25 million Covid vaccines as part of an initial tranche of 80 million doses that President Biden has pledged internationally to share. Friday. It did not provide a timetable for the delivery of the vaccine.
Smith said the US will distribute 25% of that first tranche bilaterally.
“It gives us more flexibility, and as we’ve seen there are a lot of pop-ups and explosions in this pandemic and we want to be able to move vaccines urgently if we need to,” Smith said. She added that the “current expectation” is that the vaccines will be produced by AstraZeneca.
The remaining 75% of the first batch of US vaccines will go to COVAX, the international group focused on global vaccine distribution, Smith said, adding that the Biden administration “selected the countries we want those vaccines to be in.”
Smith said nearly 6 million doses will be distributed across Latin America, including the Caribbean, 7 million in South and Southeast Asia and 5 million in Africa.
“This is the first round, this is just the beginning,” Smith said. It could not say when 55 million doses would be delivered, making up 80 million vaccines.
Going forward, the Biden administration will follow a three-part strategy to maximize vaccine supply by sharing doses, and encourage US manufacturers to ramp up vaccine production “by the last quarter, if not sooner, of this year and next,” he said. Smith. Smith said the government would also improve global production of vaccines by increasing manufacturing capacity “so that there are more places in the world that can produce and distribute vaccines.”
“Our goal is to end and maximize the pandemic as quickly as possible,” Smith said. “It is in our best interest to do so, our health is at risk…None of us is safe until we are all safe.”
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