US To Donate An Additional 500 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Worldwide

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The US is set to purchase and donate another 500 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine after world leaders and health experts sound off on the disparity in vaccine distribution around the world.

The newest donation will bring the total number of vaccine doses to 1.1 billion, almost 160 million of which have already been shipped, according to NBC News. An additional 200 million shots are scheduled to go out by the end of the year, an official with Joe Biden's administration told the news outlet. The rest of the shots –– 800 million doses of vaccine –– will go out across the globe over the next 12 months.

"We're nearly 20 months into the pandemic, and this moment really requires urgency to save lives," the Biden official said.

President Biden called for global support to pitch in and get the globe vaccinated against the coronavirus and climate change during his UN debut on Tuesday (September 21).

"Bombs and bullets cannot defend against COVID-19," Biden said. "We need a collective act of science and political will."

The president is expected to officially announce America's donation on Wednesday (September 22) during a global COVID-19 summit hosted by the White House.

Biden is also expected to unveil a new goal to get 70 percent of the world's population vaccinated by next September, an administration source revealed.

"It is a target discussed in the international community, including by the World Health Organization," the source said, noting that Biden will call on other countries help in the effort, too.

Globally, an estimated 6 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed, though the distribution highlights inequality in access. According to the World Health Organization, vaccination rates among the wealthiest countries is at an average of 80 percent while less than 20 percent of the world's lower-income nations.

"There is a man-made drought of vaccines ravaging poor countries," Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday (September 21) during the UN summit. "Rich countries hoard life saving vaccines while poor nations wait for trickles."

The WHO said 11 billion doses are needed to reach 70 percent global vaccination rate.

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