WHO warns of June-July Covax doses shortfall


The White House laid out a plan for the United States to share 25 million surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world, with the first shots shipping as soon as Thursday, and said it would ease other countries' access to USA -made supplies for vaccine production.

Congresswoman Grace Meng commended the Biden Administration for unveiling the United States' plan to share COVID-19 vaccines with other nations, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and other countries in Asia.

On May 18, President Biden said the U.S. is increasing its planned global donation from 60 million AstraZeneca vaccines to 80 million by adding 20 million doses of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson and Johnson jabs.

The U.S. has announced it will start increasing how much of its stockpile of COVID-19 vaccine with the world through the worldwide vaccine sharing initiative COVAX.

The White House says the initial 25 million doses will be shipped from existing federal stockpiles of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. "The president has committed that the US will be an arsenal for vaccines".

"Canada has ordered more doses per capita (more than 10) than any other country and therefore has a responsibility to share with the world", the groups said. To date, Mexico and Canada have received a combined 4.5 million doses, with the USA loaning Canada 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford doses in March.

"By August, Canada will have enough to fully vaccinate its entire population", reads a statement signed by 32 agencies and organizations, including the Canadian arms of One, UNICEF, World Vision, the Mennonite Central Committee, Canadian Council of Imams and the Anglican Council of Indigenous People.

"It's vaccines, not money at this point in the pandemic that are required globally", said Murthy.

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said the donations would be "surplus" from the supply the US needs and would include the FDA-approved Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but not the Astra Zeneca vaccine.

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The administration was committed to bringing the same urgency to global vaccination efforts that it demonstrated at home, he added. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who pledged 15 million doses and 50 million euros ($61 million), said: "Only by leading by example we will be effective in preaching solidarity". Vaccine providers keep an eye on the expiration dates that come with each batch, to ensure they're using up their supplies in time.

The doses mark a substantial - and immediate - boost to the lagging COVAX effort, which to date has shared just 76 million doses with needy countries.

The details of the plan were discussed during a phone call between US Vice President Kamala Harris and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. That vaccine has yet to be authorized for use in the USA but is widely approved around the world. For doses shared through COVAX, the United States will prioritize Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa, in coordination with the African Union.

However, Bruce Aylward said on Friday that only a small portion of those doses will be available in the short-term in June, July and August when they can make a difference in slowing the pace of infections in the global pandemic.

Biden has committed to providing other nations with all 60 million domestically produced doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The doses, which were produced in the United States, have been held up, unable to be exported, because the AstraZeneca vaccine is still being reviewed by the US' Food and Drug Administration.

Mexico's President Lopez Obrador said via Twitter that VP Harris had informed him of the White House decision to send one million shots of the J & J vaccine.

Biden has said he will not use US vaccines as a diplomatic tool, after accusing China and Russian Federation of leveraging doses of their vaccines for foreign policy gains.