WASHINGTON (AP) – In April, the Biden administration announced plans towith the world by the end of June. Five weeks later, the globe are still waiting – with growing impatience – to learn where the vaccines will go and how they will be distributed. To , the doses represent a modern-day “arsenal of democracy,” serving as the ultimate carrot for America’s partners abroad and a necessary tool for global health, capable of saving millions of lives and returning a semblance of normalcy to friends and foes alike.
The central question for Biden: What share of doses should be provided to those who need it most, and how many should be reserved for U.S. partners? So far, the answer appears that the administration will take a hands-off approach to distribute the bulk of the doses by providing them to COVAX, the U.N.-backedvaccine-sharing program. While the percentage is not yet finalized, it would mark a substantial – and immediate – boost to the lagging COVAX effort, which has shared just 76 .
Theto reserve about a fourth of the doses for the U.S. to dispense directly to individual nations of its choice. The growing U.S. stockpile of is a testament to American ingenuity and its global privilege. More than 50% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and more than 135 million are , helping bring the rate of cases and deaths in the U.S. to the lowest of the pandemic.
Scores of countries have requested doses from the South Korea to vaccinate its 550,000 troops who serve alongside American service members on the peninsula. The broader U.S. sharing plan is still being finalized. A official said it had been the subject of policy debate inside and across the federal government, involving COVAX and other outside stakeholders like drug manufacturers and logistics experts. said on May 17, when he announced the U.S. pledge to share more doses. He added that, compared to countries like Russia and China that have sought to leverage their domestically produced quantities, “we will not use our vaccines to secure favors from other countries.” Still, the partnership with the military points to the ability of the U.S. to use its vaccine stockpile to benefit some of its better-off allies., but only Mexico and Canada have received a combined 4.5 million doses. The U.S. also has announced plans to share enough shots with
It was unclear whether South Korea would pay for its doses from the U.S. Most other amounts were expected to be donated. Samantha Power, the new USAID administrator, provided the first indication of the likely allocation in testimony on Capitol Hill. She told the Senate Appropriations Committee, “75% of the doses we share will likely be shared through COVAX. Twenty-five percent of whatever our excess supply is that we are donating will be reserved to be able to deploy bilaterally.”