US has shared 400M COVID-19 vaccine doses globally

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The United States has shared 400 million coronavirus vaccine doses with the global population, more than any other nation, the Biden administration announced Wednesday.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced the milestone during a public health briefing on Wednesday, saying that 400 million vaccine doses have been sent to 112 countries "for free, with no strings attached."

"Today, we will hit a major milestone in our global effort," Zients said. He noted that the U.S. has shared four times more free doses with the world than any other country.

The U.S. sent roughly 3.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Bangladesh and 4.7 million doses to Pakistan this week, according to a White House official, bringing the total doses shared to 400 million. The vaccine doses are being shared through COVAX, the World Health Organization-backed initiative to vaccinate lower-income countries.

President Biden announced in June that his administration would purchase 500 million Pfizer vaccine doses to share globally, and the 400 million shared doses are part of that promise.

In total, he has pledged to share more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses with other countries, something health experts say is critical to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday's announcement means that roughly a third of the doses Biden has committed will have been sent abroad by the end of the week.

Most of the vaccine doses are being shared through COVAX, but the administration is also allocating some of them to specific countries.

According to the White House official, 47.4 million doses have now been shared with Pakistan, the largest single number given to one country through the vaccine donation program.

Vaccinating the global population is necessary to eradicate the virus so that more severe variants do not emerge, experts say. While wealthier countries like the U.S. have higher vaccination rates, lower income countries have lagged behind.

Biden has been under pressure to do more to vaccinate the global population, especially in the wake of the delta and omicron variants.

Zients also announced Wednesday that 70 percent of seniors and half of eligible adults in the U.S. have received their booster COVID-19 doses, describing it as "significant progress." About 80 percent of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Data.

"Vaccines remain our single most powerful tool," Zients said.

Updated at 11:46 a.m.

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