The United States has donated over 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 60 countries so far, the White House said on Tuesday, as the world continued to grapple with the fast-spreading Delta variant.
President Joe Biden will announce the donation tally later in the day, the White House said in a statement, calling the donations “a major milestone” in the pandemic fight.
Biden, who is scheduled to deliver remarks on efforts to combat the novel coronavirus at 3:45 p.m., had earlier pledged to donate at least 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses worldwide.
“Today’s announcement is a fulfillment of his promise and a significant downpayment on hundreds of millions of more doses that the U.S. will deliver in the coming weeks,” the White House said in a statement, adding that the majority of doses were shared via COVAX, an international program aimed at helping developing countries access COVID-19 vaccines.
In late August, the U.S. will also start shipping 500 million doses of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE’s vaccine to 100 lower-income countries, the statement said.
The race to inoculate the global population has taken on a new urgency as the Delta variant strengthens its hold both in the United States and abroad, leading to increased hospitalizations and deaths, with the majority among the unvaccinated.
COVAX, backed by the World Health Organization and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, seeks to secure 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for countries in need by the year’s end. In June, a WHO official said many nations did not have enough doses to continue vaccination efforts or had simply run out.
The White House on Tuesday said it would work with COVAX and other regional partners to ensure the donated vaccines were equitably delivered.