The Biden administration is buying hundreds of millions more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to donate to the world, according to two people familiar with the deal, as the United States looks to increase efforts to share vaccines with the global population.
The announcement of the purchase is slated for early next week and timed to the United Nations General Assembly meeting, said the people acquainted with the deal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the donation.
The White House declined to comment. Pfizer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Details of the deal were not final Friday.
In June, the United States purchased 500 million doses of the vaccine to be distributed by Covax, the World Health Organization-backed initiative to share doses around the globe, and officials said the vaccines would be targeted at low- and middle-income countries.
The White House is also expected to formally announce Friday that it is hosting a virtual summit of world leaders and global health advocates alongside next week's U.N. General Assembly meetings, said three people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the pending announcement.
Biden plans to use the summit, slated for Wednesday to call on global leaders to make new commitments to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including fully vaccinating 70 percent of the world's population by next September, securing billions of additional doses for the developing world and achieving other targets, according to a list obtained by The Washington Post.
The announcement comes amid growing criticism that the United States is not doing enough to help vaccinate the world, especially as federal health agencies consider whether to recommend booster shots for Americans. The Biden administration has been adamant that the United States has enough vaccine supply for booster shots and global donations.