U.S. COVID-19 vaccine donations surpass 200 million doses

Girl flinching as hand injects vaccine into her arm (© K.M. Chaudary/AP Images)
A student receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Lahore, Pakistan, on October 2. The United States has donated more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 100 countries, including Pakistan. (© K.M. Chaudary/AP Images)

The United States has donated more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries, a milestone in America’s commitment to end the pandemic.

The vaccine doses, delivered to more than 100 countries, are part of President Biden’s pledge to provide 1.1 billion doses to countries worldwide. Most doses are delivered in partnership with COVAX, the international facility dedicated to equitably distributing safe and effective vaccines.

All are being delivered “free of cost, with no political strings attached,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, announcing the milestone October 21.

In a statement, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power said, “These 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have helped bring health and hope to millions of people, but our work is far from over. To end the pandemic, and prevent the emergence of new variants, as well as future outbreaks within our nation’s borders, we must continue to do our part to help vaccinate the world.”

Biden announced in May that the United States would serve as the world’s “arsenal of vaccines.” In September, he upped the U.S. commitment of COVID-19 vaccine doses to more than 1.1 billion.

The United States has donated vaccine doses from its own supply and purchased hundreds of millions of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine to donate to other countries. These mRNA vaccines, which teach human cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response, are based on a 2005 discovery at the University of Pennsylvania.

The vaccine donations support the World Health Organization’s goal of fully vaccinating at least 70 percent of the population of every country by September 2022.

The United States is also providing other countries with essential tools for testing and treatment of COVID-19, including oxygen supplies and personal protective equipment.

“Simply put, we will use every tool we have to stop the spread of the virus,” Blinken has said. “If we work together with the unity and urgency required at this moment, we can end the pandemic.”