The U.S. will distribute 25 million Covid vaccines as part of an initial tranche of the 80 million doses President Biden has pledged to share internationally, Gayle Smith, Department of State coordinator for global Covid-19 response and health security, said in a phone call Reporters Friday. She did not offer a schedule for the delivery of the vaccines.
The US will distribute 25% of that first tranche bilaterally, Smith said.
“It gives us more flexibility and as we’ve seen there are a lot of pop-ups and flares in this pandemic and we want to be able to reschedule vaccines urgently if necessary,” said Smith. She added that the “current expectation” is that the vaccines will be manufactured by AstraZeneca.
The remaining 75% of the first tranche of US vaccines will go to COVAX, the international group focused on global vaccine sales, said Smith, adding that the Biden administration “has identified the countries we want these vaccines to go to “.
About 6 million doses will be distributed in Latin America, including the Caribbean, 7 million will go to South and Southeast Asia and 5 million to Africa, Smith said.
“This is the first round, this is just the beginning,” said Smith. She couldn’t say when the 55 million doses that make up 80 million vaccines would be delivered.
Going forward, the Biden administration will have a three-part strategy to maximize vaccine supply by dividing doses and encouraging US manufacturers to reduce vaccine production “by the final quarter of this year, if not earlier, and well into next year “Said. The government will also work to improve global vaccine production by increasing manufacturing capacity “so there are more places in the world where vaccines can be made and distributed,” said Smith.
“Our goal is to end the pandemic and maximize it as quickly as possible,” said Smith. “It is in our best interest to do this, our own health security is at risk … none of us is safe until we are all safe.”
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