Pfizer and BioNTech will be providing the United States with an additional 500 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine, specifically to be donated to low and lower-middle income countries who have been struggling with their vaccine distribution rates due to wealthier countries gaining priority access.
The company’s existing agreement with the US government is now being expanded so that the US government provides even more vaccine doses at a not-for-profit price for less-advantaged nations. With this recent move to increase dose donation, the total number of doses to be supplied for donation should be around a billion.
The initial agreement still stands, which states the US government will allocate doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to 92 lower income countries, and the 55 member states of the African Union.
Pfizer released a press release Wednesday which states deliveries of the initial 500 million doses began back in August, and the total 1 billion doses under the new expanded agreement will begin to be delivered by the end of September 2022.
The first doses allocated through this specific program arrived in Rwanda in mid-August and since that point more than 30 million doses have been shipped to 22 countries.
Pfizer and BioNTech also have an existing agreement to provide vaccine doses to the COVAX Facility, a mechanism set up by Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization. The overall goal of all of these programs is to provide vaccines and additional pandemic support to lesser developed nations.
Developed nations like the US and those in Europe have had an excessive supply of Covid vaccines since the number of eligible individuals for the vaccine quickly reached all individuals 12 and up. General populations were able to receive their inoculations through mass vaccination campaigns rather quickly when compared to lower-income nations who lacked the supply in the first place.
A majority of adults in the US and Europe are now fully vaccinated, however, millions of individuals around the world don’t even have access to the vaccine, leaving the entire world still at risk with this pandemic; as exemplified by the development of multiple variants due to a lack of consistency with vaccination rates around the world.
According to the CDC, “in the US, 64.1% of the population above the age of 12 is fully vaccinated.” In the UK, “81.9% of people over 16 are fully vaccinated,” according to British government data. According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, throughout the entire European Union 71.7% of adults are fully vaccinated.
43.5% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, but only 2% of people in lower-income nations have received at least one dose. Overall, it’s up to the wealthier nations throughout the world to help the rest of the planet become immune from this virus so that we have a real chance at returning to a life of normalcy.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.