US President Joe Biden has announced a total of $4 billion in contributions to COVAX, the vaccine alliance trying to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries.
Biden made the announcement during a virtual meeting of G7 leaders about the pandemic.
The funding for the program — which is co-run by the World Health Organization — includes an initial contribution of $2 billion that Congress appropriated in December.
US Officials say the funding would not affect the program to vaccinate US residents, noting the government is on track to have a large enough supply of vaccine— 600 million doses— for domestic needs by the end of July. If there are vaccines left over from the domestic program, the Biden administration plans to look for ways to donate that to the COVAX program, but no decisions on that have yet been made.
Meanwhile, the European Commission plans to double the EU’s contribution to the COVAX programme, bringing the 27-nation bloc’s commitment to the initiative to deliver vaccines to poor nations to 1 billion euros.
European Commission President Von der Leyen is also set to announce an additional 100 million euros (approx. 121.4 million US dollars) to support vaccination campaigns in Africa, in partnership with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.