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Biden vows to send 20m doses of US-approved Covid vaccines overseas

Posted at May 18, 2021

Washington will send 20m doses of US-approved coronavirus vaccines overseas by the end of June, Joe Biden confirmed on Monday.

In combination with the 60m doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine that the US has already promised to foreign allies, the Biden administration will send 80m vaccine doses abroad over the next six weeks.

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“Our nation is going to be the arsenal of vaccines for the rest of the world,” Biden said in a speech at the White House.

“No ocean is wide enough, no wall is high enough to keep us safe. Rampant disease and death in other countries can destabilize them – those countries – and pose a risk to us as well,” he added.

The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for use in the US, and Monday’s move marked the first time the US would be sharing vaccines authorized for domestic use. The AstraZeneca vaccine is not yet approved in the US. It previously shared 4m doses of its AstraZeneca stockpile with Mexico and Canada in March.

On Monday, the president said the US would be sending more vaccine doses to foreign countries than either China or Russia has, and he emphasized his administration would not be asking for “favors” from allies in exchange for the vaccines.

The White House has not said which countries will receive the shots. The press secretary, Jen Psaki, said the administration would announce more in the coming days about how the administration is deciding where to send vaccines.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director of the World Health Organization (WHO), welcomed the move, saying partners of the WHO-backed Covax vaccine distribution platform would “stand ready to support equitable distribution”.

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