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US and Novavax to contribute to global vaccination campaign

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WASHINGTON An international effort to speed up the manufacture and distribution of coronavirus vaccines around the world was noted on Thursday on two fronts: White House officials said the Biden administration would keep its US $ 4 billion pledge dollars to the campaign over two years, and pharmaceutical company Novavax has pledged to sell 1.1 billion doses of its vaccine.

President Biden will make his announcement on Friday in a virtual meeting with other Group of 7 leaders, where he is also expected to call on other countries to step up their contributions. The $ 4 billion was approved last year by a Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate when President Donald J. Trump was in office.

Public health experts often say that if not everyone is vaccinated, it is as if no one is vaccinated. One of the officials, who spoke anonymously to preview the presidents’ announcement, said it was also in the international security interest for the United States to contribute to efforts at the abroad to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

Countries like India and China are already using the coronavirus vaccine as a diplomatic tool; both distribute doses to other countries in an attempt to expand their global influence. National security experts said the United States should consider doing the same.

We could use the vaccine internationally to strengthen our relationship with our allies, to eventually establish positive cooperation with China, to address humanitarian issues in the less developed regions of the globe, Richard J. Danzig, who was the secretary of President Bill Clinton’s Navy, said in an interview late last year, lamenting the Trump administrations’ indifference to the idea. Such an effort, he said, could give us a huge national security advantage.

The Biden White House appears to be heading in that direction. After taking office, Biden called on federal agencies to come up with a framework for the donation of surplus vaccine, once there is sufficient supply in the United States, to countries in need, including through the through the international program.

Update

Apr. 6:20 p.m. – 8:01 a.m. ET

But, an official said Thursday, the United States will not share vaccines now, as the nationwide vaccination campaign grows.

The administration has obtained 600 million doses of the two vaccines that have emergency clearance, enough for 300 million Americans. Those doses are expected to be available by the end of the summer, and Mr Biden said this week that the vaccines will be available to every American by the end of July. If additional vaccines are approved, as is highly likely, that would increase supply in the United States.

The international vaccination effort, known as Covax, was led by the public-private health partnership known as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, as well as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the Organization world health. It aims to distribute vaccines deemed safe and effective by WHO, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries.

White House officials said the money will be released in installments: an initial donation of $ 500 million immediately, followed by nearly an additional $ 1.5 billion. The remaining $ 2 billion will be delivered by the end of 2022.

The presidents’ commitment to the global fight against the pandemic is in stark contrast to the approach of Mr. Trump, who withdrew from the World Health Organization and scorned foreign aid, pursuing a foreign policy which he called America first. Mr Biden joined the World Health Organization immediately after taking office in January.

One of the officials said Mr Biden would call on other countries to make significant commitments to Covax.

So far, the United States has promised more than any other nation, according to the White House; the official said the goal was to leverage the second tranche of $ 2 billion to reach $ 15 billion, the amount the administration believes is needed to increase the supply of vaccines globally and distribute it .

Covax executives greeted Novavax’s announcement with enthusiasm. Dr Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi, said in a statement that the donation would help the campaign move closer to our goal of delivering two billion doses in 2021. He also said it would expand the range of vaccines on which it could count to build a portfolio adapted to all contexts and contexts.

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