Biden Announces U.S. Will Donate 500 Million Vaccine Doses to Around 100 Countries in Need

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BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/getty

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the U.S. will purchase 500 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to donate to around 100 countries in need, in an effort to get more of the world vaccinated and end the pandemic.

"This is about our responsibility, our humanitarian obligation, to save as many lives as we can," Biden said in a speech in England ahead of the Group of 7 world summit. "When we see people hurting and suffering anywhere around the world, we seek to help any way we can."

Biden said that the doses will be sent out throughout the next year, in addition to the 80 million doses he had already promised to donate by the end of this month. He said it was America's duty to help out with the worldwide vaccination effort and in its best interest.

"We're going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners," he said.

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Biden said that he will speak with the other G7 leaders - made up of the wealthiest nations - to work on a larger plan to fight the pandemic.

"America knows firsthand the tragedies of this pandemic," he said. The U.S. surpassed 600,000 deaths from COVID-19 last week, "more deaths from COVID-19 in the United States than from World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War and 9/11, combined."

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The 500 million Pfizer doses will cost the U.S. $3.5 billion, at a discounted price of $7 each, below the $20 price Pfizer is charging the country for doses given to Americans.

"The United States is providing these half billion doses with no strings attached," Biden said. "We're doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That's it. Period."

In the U.S., nearly 52% of the total population have received at least one dose of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccines, and 42.5% are fully vaccinated as of June 10, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Of the Americans who are eligible to receive a vaccine - those aged 12 and up - 61.3% have had at least one dose and 50.3% are fully vaccinated.

RELATED: Southern States Are Lagging in COVID Vaccinations, Leaving Experts Concerned About a Rise in Cases

Biden had set a goal of getting 70% of Americans vaccinated by July 4, a target that is looking less likely as the deadline grows nearer. Currently, 12 states have reached the 70% threshold - California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Another 25 states are close, and could hit that goal by July 4, but 15 others, primarily in the South and Midwest, are lagging behind, according to The New York Times.

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