Pfizer and BioNTech will donate 500 million additional doses of their Covid-19 vaccines to the United States government which will then be rerouted to poorer countries.
Wednesday’s announcement expands on the existing agreement between the U.S. government and the companies to supply additional vaccine doses at no-profit prices to less-advantaged countries. This brings the total number to be donated to these countries to one billion.
According to Pfizer, doses of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will be distributed by the US government to the 92 countries with low or middle incomes and the 55 African Union member states, in accordance with the original agreement.
The company stated that the initial 500,000,000 doses were delivered in August. The remaining 1 billion doses, which are part of the expanded agreement, will be delivered by September 2022.
In mid-August, the first doses of this program arrived in Rwanda. Since then, over 30 million doses have been shipped out to 22 countries.
Pfizer and BioNTech have an agreement in place to supply vaccine doses for the COVAX Facility. This facility was established by Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. It aims to provide low-income countries early access to Covid-19 vaccines.
In the meantime, developed countries like the U.S.A. and Europe have plenty of Covid-19 shots because a variety of vaccine candidates were created at lightning speed and approved for emergency use last year. Then they were rolled out to general vaccination campaigns.
Although the majority of adults in Europe and the U.S. are fully vaccinated now, there are millions of people worldwide who do not have access to Covid-19 vaccines, which can greatly reduce the chance of serious Covid-19 infections, hospitalization, and even death.
According to CDC data, 64.1 per cent of Americans over 12 years old are fully vaccinated. In contrast, 81.9per cent in the United Kingdom are fully vaccinated according to British government data. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 71.7 per cent are fully vaccinated in the EU.
According to Our World in Data, 43.5 per cent of the global population have had at least one dose. However, only 2 per cent of those living in low-income countries have had at least one dose.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)