- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 22, 2021

President Biden will announce Wednesday the U.S. is purchasing an additional 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to give to the rest of the world, bringing its total commitment to more than 1 billion shots.

Mr. Biden will also press other global leaders to “step up” and do more during a COVID-19 summit that he is hosting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, according to a senior administration official.

“For every one shot we have administered in this country to date, we are now donating three shots to other countries. One shot here today, three shots committed for the world,” the official told reporters. “No other country, or group of countries, have come close to that.”

The administration and the World Health Organization say the coronavirus will be a danger so long as swaths of the global population remain unvaccinated. The virus has shown an ability to mutate into more dangerous forms and ping from one corner of the world to another.

Mr. Biden earlier this year pledged to provide roughly 100 million doses of multiple vaccines to other countries, including supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine that hasn’t been approved in the U.S. but is widely used in other countries.

He followed that up by purchasing 500 million doses from Pfizer ahead of the Group of Seven nations summit over the summer. Wednesday’s announcement will double that purchase, bringing the total donation to around 1.1 billion.

Pfizer’s vaccine is administered in two doses, so 1 billion doses are enough to fully vaccinate 500 million people. 

The administration did not disclose a total cost for the vaccines but said Pfizer is providing them at a “not-for-profit” price.

Officials said the Pfizer doses will be made in the U.S. and shipped out from January to September of next year. It said tens of millions of other doses have been donated this year.

“We have now shipped nearly 160 million of these doses to 100 countries around the world — from Peru to Pakistan, Sri Lanka to Sudan, El Salvador to Ethiopia,” the senior administration official said. “To put this into perspective, the United States has now delivered more free doses than every other country in the world combined.”

Mr. Biden is pushing global leaders to step up even as he struggles to lift vaccination rates at home. 

Roughly 55% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and around a quarter of eligible Americans have not received any doses, prompting Mr. Biden to push employer-based mandates to force people into getting the shots.

The administration insists it has enough supply to take care of the U.S. and help the world, even as it looks to provide booster shots for the fully vaccinated.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide