A child hugs his mother as she gets vaccinated against Covid-19 on a vaccination day in Colombia.
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Pfizer and BioNTech will provide an additional 500 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine to the U.S. government for donation to low and lower middle income countries.
The move announced Wednesday represents an extension of the existing agreement between the companies and the U.S. government to provide additional doses of the vaccine at a non-profit price to less-favored countries, and brings the total number of doses to be provided for the donate to these countries to a billion.
As per the original agreement, the U.S. government will allocate doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries and 55 African Union member states, Pfizer said in a press release on Wednesday.
Deliveries of the initial 500 million doses began in August, and the total of one billion doses under the expanded agreement is expected to be delivered by the end of September 2022, the company added.
The first doses allocated under this program arrived in Rwanda in mid-August and since then more than 30 million doses have been shipped to 22 countries.
Pfizer and BioNTech have an existing agreement in place to deliver vaccine doses to the COVAX facility, a mechanism established by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization which aims to provide poorest countries rapid access to Covid- 19 vaccines.
Meanwhile, developed countries like the United States and those in Europe have had plentiful supplies of Covid vaccines since a number of vaccine candidates were developed at breakneck speed and cleared for emergency use. last year before being deployed to their general population as part of mass vaccination campaigns.
While a majority of adults in the United States and Europe are now fully vaccinated, millions of people around the world do not have such easy access to Covid vaccines, greatly reducing the risk of severe Covid infection. , hospitalization and death.
In the United States, 64.1% of the population over the age of 12 is fully vaccinated, according to CDC data, while in the UK, 81.9% of people over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated, according to UK government data. In the EU, 71.7% of adults are fully vaccinated, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Figures from Our World in Data show that while 43.5% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, only 2% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.