U.S. announces global COVID-19 vaccine sharing plan

Joe Biden

The United States announced Wednesday that it plans to send 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world, including Sri Lanka, by the end of June.

The U.S. will share nearly 19 million of those doses through the global vaccine-sharing program COVAX, 7 million of which will be distributed to Asian countries including Taiwan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands, the White House said in a statement.

It did not specify how many doses each respective country will get.

“We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in another statement.

“The United States will be the world’s arsenal of vaccines in our shared fight against this virus,” Biden said.

The Biden administration has pledged to share at least 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses globally by the end of June.

Sri Lankan state minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana confirmed that Sri Lanka has been included in the first tranche of the US global vaccine sharing programme.

The quantity and type of vaccine is yet to be announced, he said.

The much-awaited vaccine sharing plan comes as demand for COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. dipped significantly with over 63 per cent of adults having received at least one shot.

Nearly 19 million doses will now be shared through COVAX, with close to six million vaccines allocated for South and Central America, to countries including, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, and other Caribbean Community countries, as well as the Dominican Republic.