The White House on Thursday announced plans for a global vaccine sharing program that will ship out 80 million doses by the end of June — as a dozen states reached targets to administer at least one shot to 70 percent of adults.
The vaccine sharing program will allocate 75 percent of the doses to U.N.-backed COVAX, which will distribute the vaccines to needy countries in Central America, Asia and Africa.
“As the days get brighter and brighter at home, we’re focused on driving progress to help end the pandemic around the globe,” said Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, at a press briefing.
“It’s both the right thing to do and an important step in protecting Americans by helping to stamp out the virus.”
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the remaining doses will be kept in reserve to give to other countries for “immediate needs and to help with surges around the world.”
“We will work with our international partners to get ahead of the virus to follow the science and to help countries in crisis,” Sullivan told reporters.
Of the first 25 million doses given away, about 19 million will go to the COVAX sharing program — including 6 million for South and Central America, 7 million for Asia, and 5 million for Africa.
The White House on Thursday also personally committed vaccine help to Mexico, Guatemala, India and Caribbean countries.
President Biden has expressed his intent to deliver 80 million doses around the world by the end of June.
The vaccination sharing program — which will distribute all three authorized shots, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna — comes as demand for the shots has dropped in the US.
The White House said Thursday that 12 states have now given at least one dose to 70 percent of its adult population.
Last month, Biden announced a new push to get at least 70 percent of Americans inoculated by July 4.
Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania were among the states to cross the threshold in the Northeast, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, Hawaii, California and New Mexico were the only states on the West Coast to reach more than 70 percent of adults at least partially vaccinated.
So far, more than 63 percent of adults in the US have been given at least one dose, data shows.
Additional reporting by Steven Nelson
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