WEDNESDAY, Sept. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The United States will buy 500 million more doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine that it will donate to countries in need, President Biden announced at a virtual summit on the pandemic Wednesday.
The United States is doubling its purchase of the vaccine to 1 billion doses as Biden hopes 70% of the world's population can be vaccinated within a year, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Some 160 million shots from the United States have been given to over 100 countries, a donation number larger than all other countries combined. These additional doses are only a fraction of what's needed to vaccinate 70% of the global population by next September.
This response has come after the United States has been criticized for not doing enough and promoting booster shots when many nations haven't enough vaccine to give their citizens a single shot, the AP noted.
"We have observed failures of multilateralism to respond in an equitable, coordinated way to the most acute moments. The existing gaps between nations with regard to the vaccination process are unheard of," Colombian President Iván Duque said Tuesday at the United Nations.Nearly 6 billion COVID-19 doses have been given globally over the past year, representing about 43% of the world's population. Vast disparities still exist, with many poorer nations struggling to vaccinate the most vulnerable.
At the U.N. on Tuesday, Biden took credit for giving more than 160 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to other countries, but other leaders said that was not enough.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said the "triumph" of speedy vaccine development was offset by the political "failure" of uneven distribution.
"In science, cooperation prevailed; in politics, individualism. In science, shared information reigned; in politics, reserve. In science, teamwork predominated; in politics, isolated effort," Pinera said.
The World Health Organization says only 15% of promised donations of vaccines have been delivered. The agency said it wants countries to fulfill their dose-sharing pledges "immediately" and make the vaccine available to poor countries, especially those in Africa, the AP reported.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID vaccines.