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Biden to Send Millions of Pfizer Vaccine Doses to 100 Countries

  • June 10, 2021

The president’s promise of vaccines for the global market comes as he prepares to meet on Thursday with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, who has called on leaders to commit to vaccinating everyone in the world by the end of 2022. Mr. Biden’s announcement is likely to be welcome news for Mr. Johnson, whose critics have questioned where the money will come from to meet his pledge.

“The truth is that world leaders have been kicking the can down the road for months — to the point where they have run out of road,” Edwin Ikhouria, the executive director for Africa at the ONE Campaign, a nonprofit aimed at eradicating global poverty, said in a statement on Wednesday.

About 64 percent of adults in the United States are at least partly vaccinated, and the president has set a goal of bringing that number up to 70 percent by July 4. The pace of vaccination has dropped sharply since mid-April, leading the Biden administration to pursue a strategy of greater accessibility and incentives to reach Americans who have not yet gotten shots.

In spite of those efforts, there are unused vaccine doses that could go to waste. Once thawed, doses have a limited shelf life and millions could begin expiring within two weeks, according to federal officials.

Providing equitable access to vaccines has become one of the most intractable challenges to reining in the pandemic. Wealthier nations and private entities have pledged tens of millions of doses and billions of dollars to shore up global supplies, but the disparity in vaccine allocations so far has been stark.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, warned this week that the world was facing a “two-track pandemic,” in which countries where vaccines are scarce will struggle with virus cases even as better-supplied nations return to normal.

Those lower-income countries will be largely dependent on wealthier ones until vaccines can be distributed and produced on a more equitable basis, he said.

Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting from New York, and Michael D. Shear from Plymouth, England.

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