WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden announced Monday that the U.S. will share an additional 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with the world in the coming six weeks, according to a senior administration official.
Those doses would come from existing U.S. production of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocks, Biden said.
“We know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic that’s raging globally is under control,” Biden said at the White House.
It comes on top of the Biden’s administration’s prior commitment to share about 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of June. The AstraZeneca vaccine is widely in use around the world but not yet authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Biden is also tapping COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients to lead the administration’s efforts to share doses with the world. The Biden administration has yet to announce how they will be shared or which countries will receive them.
“Our nation’s going to be the arsenal of vaccines for the rest of the world,” Biden said. He added that, compared to other countries like Russia and China that have sought to leverage their domestically produced doses, “we will not use our vaccines to secure favors from other countries.”
To date, the U.S. has shared about 4.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine with Canada and Mexico. Additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine manufactured in the U.S. have begun to be exported as the company has met its initial contract commitments to the federal government.
The move comes as U.S. states are seeing drops in vaccination numbers and countries like India are scrambling to get vaccines to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases. Biden said Monday that coronavirus cases are now down in all 50 states for the first time since the pandemic began.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week unveiled new mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people last week, another step towards returning to pre-pandemic life.
“Only those who are not vaccinated will end up paying the price,” Biden said.
The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues — even removing the need for masks or social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.
About 130 million people, or 37% of the U.S. population, have been fully inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer Inc/ BioNTech SE, Moderna Inc and Johnson & Johnson, according to CDC data. 47.3% of the U.S. population, or 157.1 million adults had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.