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Biden Outlines Global Vaccine Plan, Falling Short Of June Goal

Biden Outlines Global Vaccine Plan, Falling Short Of June Goal

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is expected to fall short of his commitment to ship 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad by the end of June due to regulatory and other obstacles, officials said Monday as they unveiled new plans for global distribution of the shots.

The White House announced the final allocations for the doses, with 60 million shots going to the global COVAX vaccine sharing alliance and 20 million going to specific partners; however, fewer than 10 million doses have been shipped around the world, including 2.5 million doses delivered to Taiwan over the weekend and approximately 1 million doses delivered to Mexico, Canada, and South Korea earlier this week.

Officials said that while the doses produced in the United States are ready, deliveries have been delayed due to legal, logistical, and regulatory requirements in the United States and the recipient countries. A White House official said that shipments will begin as soon as countries are ready to receive the doses and the administration works out logistical complexities.

The extra doses are unnecessary in the United States, where vaccination demand has dropped in recent weeks as more than 177 million people have received at least one shot.

On May 17, Biden announced that “over the next six weeks, the United States of America will send 80 million doses overseas, which will be more vaccines than any other country has shared to date — five times more than any other country — more than Russia and China, which have donated 15 million doses.”

Biden announced earlier this month that, in addition to the 80 million, the United States would purchase 500 million doses from Pfizer to donate globally over the next year, with the first deliveries scheduled for August.

Biden initially committed to providing other countries with all 60 million U.S.-produced doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has yet to be approved for use in the United States but is widely used elsewhere, but has been held up for export by a weeks-long safety review by the Food and Drug Administration.

Given declining domestic demand, Biden was expected to be able to meet the full 80 million commitment without the AstraZeneca doses. The White House announced plans earlier this month for the first 25 million doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to be exported from existing federal stockpiles, with some already shipping.

It announced plans for an additional 55 million shots on Monday.

The latest batch of COVAX doses will include approximately 14 million for Latin America and the Caribbean, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Costa Rica, as well as approximately 16 million for Asia, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bhutan, and the Philippines.

Approximately 14 million doses will be distributed directly to Colombia, Argentina, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cabo Verde, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Oman, the West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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