President Joe Biden on Thursday said a U.S. donation of 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses will bring about similar contributions from other wealthy nations, as he delivered a speech in the U.K. about fighting the COVID-19 pandemic globally on the first overseas trip of his term.
“This U.S. contribution is the foundation for additional coordinated efforts to help vaccinate the world,” he said, speaking in St Ives, a seaside town in Cornwall.
“Tomorrow, the G-7 nations will be announcing the full scope of our commitment,” he also said.
Group of Seven leaders plan to promise at least 1 billion extra doses of vaccines over the next year to help cover 80% of the globe’s adults, according to a Bloomberg News report citing a draft G-7 document.
Biden’s comments follow reports on Wednesday that his administration would buy 500 million doses of Pfizer’s
COVID-19 vaccine to donate to the world as part of its effort to boost vaccination rates in developing nations.
That ramps up the U.S. contribution from an earlier commitment of 80 million shots. Biden repeatedly has declared that the U.S. will serve as “the arsenal of vaccines” for the rest of the world, similar to how the country served as the arsenal of democracy during World War II.
With the new donation of 500 million shots, 200 million of them will be delivered this year, while the rest will come in the first half of 2022, Biden said during Thursday’s speech.
“Our values call us to do everything that we can to vaccinate the world against COVID-19,” the president said.
“It’s also in America’s self-interest. As long as the virus rages elsewhere, there’s a risk of new mutations that could threaten our people. We know that raging COVID-19 in other countries holds back global growth, raises instability and weakens governments.”
Americans have been rejoicing over the return to near-normalcy, as the U.S. leads the world by far in the number of people fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, the global case tally for COVID continues to rise, driven in large part by countries such as India and Brazil.
The White House has said Biden is aiming during his trip to the U.K. and continental Europe to reinforce the U.S. commitment to multilateralism and work to advance U.S. priorities on COVID and economic recovery, among other goals. The weeklong trip began Wednesday.
were rising to records Thursday as investors tracked data showing mounting inflation pressures.