Boris Johnson meets with Joe Biden in the UK: Live updates

Boxes containing doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at a Pfizer manufacturing facility in Portage, Michigan, on December 13, 2020.
Boxes containing doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at a Pfizer manufacturing facility in Portage, Michigan, on December 13, 2020. Morry Gash/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

President Biden’s expected announcement Thursday evening that the United States plans to donate 500 million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses globally will be a part of his efforts to reassert US leadership on the world stage, officials said.

Biden is set to deliver remarks at 1:15 pm ET from St. Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom.

Officials touted the move Thursday, suggesting it is part of a broader effort for the world’s democracies to lead the way in pandemic recovery.

“This will be clearly the largest purchase and donation of Covid-19 vaccines by a single country, by far, and it’s an unprecedented response,” a senior administration official told reporters on a briefing call Thursday. 

“We want to do everything we can to prevent more tragic loss across the globe,” the official said, adding that it is “in our national interest to end this pandemic everywhere.”

“Covid-19 knows no borders, and as long as this virus is in our world, Americans are at risk,” the official said, stressing how the virus also “threatens economic opportunity.”

But the move is also intended to encourage other US allies to step up. 

“We’re also using this announcement today to leverage and mobilize larger commitments from the world’s democracies, from the G7 and partner countries,” a separate senior official said, previewing a “G7 Covid-related multilateral announcement.”

At the G7 summit this weekend, the official said, leaders will announce a “collective effort by the world’s democracies to beat Covid-19 for once and for all.”

The donation comes as Biden has repeatedly said that the world is at an inflection point for whether democracy can prevail over autocracy.

“This is the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do, and it is tangible proof that it is going to be the world’s democracies who ultimately deliver when it comes to beating the Covid-19 pandemic,” the official said.

Here are key things to know about the vaccine donation:

  • Officials said the Pfizer doses will begin to ship in August and 200 million doses will be delivered by the end of this year.
  • The remaining 300 million doses will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
  • They will be manufactured in the US, the officials said, “employing thousands of workers” in states like Michigan, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
  • The cost will be around $1.5 billion, which will come from previously-allocated funds in the American Rescue Plan relief package passed earlier this year.
  • There will be no conditions for the nations that receive the doses.

“The United States is not seeking favors in exchange for these doses, we’re not making demands in order for countries to get these doses, we are not imposing conditions, political, economic or otherwise. We are going to be guided by the science and public health experts in allocating them to the places where they can make the most difference,” the second senior official said.

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