The New York Times reports Nov. 17 that the Biden administration plans to invest billions of dollars to expand United States production of coronavirus vaccines to deal with the deadly plague at home and abroad.
“That goal,” according to Times correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “is a proposed first step in a new plan”, enabling the government to partner with industry to address immediate vaccines overseas and at home.
Dr. David Kessler, one of the President’s key overseers of COVID vaccine distribution, says: “This is about assuring expanded capacity against COVID-19 and its variants and also preparing for the next pandemic.
“The goal, in the case of a future virus pandemic, is to have vaccines within six months of the first outbreak, enough for all United States citizens. “This effort,” Dr. Kessler adds, “is specifically aimed at building United States domestic capacity… but that capacity is important not only here, but for the global supply.”
Latest reports on Washington COVID vaccines overseas
The Associated Press reported on November 17 that the Biden administration is making billions of dollars available to scale up domestic COVID-19 vaccines “in the hopes of producing an additional one billion shots annually to share with the world next year.”
According to AP, the announcement was previewed November 17 by a Biden administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter before an official press release.
The AP adds there are no firm agreements yet with key United States vaccine producers Moderna or Pfizer to follow up with expanded production of the lifesaving pharmaceuticals.
European Union vaccine shipments
The EU’s top official said in mid-October that European nations have now exported more than a billion doses of vaccines abroad, including Japan, Brazil, and South Africa.
According to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, COVID vaccines have now been sent by the European Union to more than 150 nations. In her words: “We know that other countries must step up… that’s the only way to beat the pandemic.”
The immense scale of the worldwide need for COVID-19 shots
Nowhere is the need more acute than in Africa, and its population of 1.3 billion people. The latest reports are that only 2 % of Africans have so far received COVID vaccinations, not to mention millions more in poorer nations spanning the globe. Urgent action is essential if we can vanquish the most perilous plague of the 21st century.
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More