The White House has laid out its plans for sharing 55 million COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad, with most of the allocations going to countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa.
The Biden administration said Monday that most of the doses would be shared through the COVAX international vaccine-sharing program, fulfilling a commitment by President Joe Biden to share 80 million U.S.-made vaccines with countries around the world.
The Associated Press reported Monday that the administration is likely to fall short of its pledge to share the vaccines by the end of June, because of regulatory and other hurdles. Officials cited by the news agency say the vaccine doses are ready but are being delayed due to legal, logistical and regulatory requirements in both the United States and the recipient countries.
Biden laid out his plans for the first 25 million doses earlier this month. On Monday, the White House revealed plans for the 55 million remaining shots, including 14 million for Latin America and the Caribbean, 16 million for Asia, and about 10 million for Africa.
Another 14 million doses are being shared with “regional priorities,” including Colombia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, South Africa, the West Bank and Gaza.
The United States has already begun delivering vaccine doses to Taiwan, Mexico, Canada and South Korea.
“We have plenty of supply to deliver on the 80 million doses,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday’s press briefing. “Our biggest challenge is logistics, is the fact that there is not a playbook for this and there are challenges as it relates to getting these doses out to every country.”
In addition, President Biden announced earlier this month that the U.S. would purchase 500 million vaccine doses from drug manufacturer Pfizer and distribute them worldwide over the coming year.
The United States has surplus vaccine doses after more than 177 million Americans have received at least one shot and demand for COVID vaccines has begun to fall.
The White House said in a statement Monday that the United States “will not use its vaccines to secure favors from other countries.” It said the U.S. goals for the program include increasing global COVID-19 vaccination coverage, preparing for surges and helping “our neighbors and other countries in need.”