The United States has agreed with Pfizer-BioNTech to buy 500 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccines to distribute worldwide, according to reports citing sources familiar with the matter.
The 500 million doses will go through the global COVAX alliance to donate to 92 lower-income countries and the African Union over the next year, according to reports.
The first 200 million doses would be distributed this year while the remaining 300 million doses would be shared in the first half of 2022.
President Joe Biden will announce the plan at the G7 summit in Cornwall, England on June 10.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on June 9 that Biden was committed to distributing vaccines because it was in the public health interest of the U.S. and it was part of a broader strategy of restoring the country’s global influence amid assertive foreign policies of China and Russia.
Sullivan also said that Biden will participate in a combined announcement on a plan to end the pandemic, including a segment on vaccines, at the G7 summit.
“He does want to show rallying the rest of the world’s democracies — the democracies are the countries that can best deliver solutions for people everywhere,” Sullivan said.
“We’re going to be the ‘arsenal of vaccines’ over this next period to help end the pandemic,” Sullivan added.
The U.S. has already purchased 300 million Pfizer-BioNTech, which means the country’s overall purchase for the global initiative will be at 800 million.
The Biden administration announced last week that it planned to globally distribute at least 80 million doses by the end of June with 19 million of them going to COVAX while an additional six million would directly go to countries suffering severe outbreaks, such as India.