Pfizer to provide U.S. with 500 million COVID-19 vaccines to donate to world

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Pfizer and German partner BioNTech said on Thursday they have agreed to supply the U.S. government with 500 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to donate to poorer countries over the next two years.

The two drugmakers will provide 200 million doses in 2021 and 300 million doses in the first half of 2022, which the United States will then distribute to 92 lower-income countries and the African Union, they said.

The shots, which will be produced at Pfizer’s U.S. production sites, will be provided at a not-for-profit price.

“Our partnership with the U.S. government will help bring hundreds of millions of doses of our vaccine to the poorest countries around the world as quickly as possible,” said Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla.

Deliveries of the 200 million doses will begin in August 2021 and continue through the remainder of the year, they said, while the 300 million doses for 2022 are planned to be delivered between January and the end of June.

The U.S. government also has the option for additional doses.

Pfizer and Biontech said the doses are part of a previously announced pledge to provide two billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to low- and middle-income countries over the next 18 months.

U.S. President Joe Biden will announce plans on Thursday to buy and donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to more than 90 countries, while calling on the world’s democracies to do their part to help end the deadly pandemic, the White House said.

Biden will announce the vaccine donation – the largest ever by a single country – ahead of his meeting with leaders of the other Group of Seven advanced economies – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – in Cornwall, England.

The Democratic president arrived in England late Wednesday for his first overseas trip since taking office. The eight-day mission aims to rebuild trans-Atlantic ties and reframe relations with Russia after four rocky years of tariffs and withdrawal from treaties under Republican former President Donald Trump.

“The goal of today’s donation is to save lives and end the pandemic and will provide the foundation for additional actions to be announced in the coming days,” the White House said. No further details about the pending announcements were provided.

The donation, first reported on Wednesday, was negotiated over the past four weeks by White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients and the coronavirus task force team, a source familiar with the matter said.

It is meant to “supercharge the global fight against the pandemic,” the White House said.

Photo: EPA-EFE/CLAUDIO PERI