Goal is to help developing nations vaccinate 70 percent of world's population by next year

President Joe Biden is set to announce that the United States is doubling its purchase of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shots to share with the world to 1 billion doses as he embraces the goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population within the next year, the Associated Press reports.

The stepped-up U.S. commitment is to be the cornerstone of the global vaccination summit Biden is convening virtually Wednesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, where he plans to push well-off nations to do more to get the coronavirus under control.

World leaders, aid groups and global health organizations are growing increasingly vocal about the slow pace of global vaccinations and the inequity of access to shots between residents of wealthier and poorer nations.

The U.S. purchase, according to two senior Biden administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview Biden’s remarks, will bring the total U.S. vaccination commitment to more than 1.1 billion doses through 2022. At least 160 million shots supplied by the U.S. have been distributed to more than 100 countries, representing more donations than the rest of the world combined.

The latest purchase reflects only a fraction of what will be necessary to meet a goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population — and 70% of the citizens of each nation — by next September’s U.N. meeting. It’s a target pushed by global aid groups that Biden will throw his weight behind.

The White House said Biden will use the summit to press other countries to “commit to a higher level of ambition” in their vaccine sharing plans, including specific challenges for them to meet. The officials said the White House will publicly release the targets for well-off nations and nonprofits after the summit concludes.

© Copyright LaPresse