President Joe Biden plans to announce on Friday that the United States will contribute $2 billion to a U.N.-backed program seeking to distribute COVID-19 vaccine doses to people in the poorest countries in the world, according to senior Biden administration officials.
Congress had already allocated the money in December for the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide to Gavi, an international vaccine distribution alliance. Congress provided a total of $4 billion and the officials said that the U.S. would give the rest to Gavi over the course of this year and 2022.
The move, which the White House said Biden intends to announce during a virtual meeting of the Group of Seven leaders, comes as the United States grapples with not yet having enough doses to vaccinate its own population, although the situation in poorer nations is far worse.
To date, 10 countries have administered 75% of all COVID-19 vaccines, while more than 130 countries have not yet received a single dose, the United Nations said Wednesday.
Many countries are unable to compete with wealthier ones like the U.S. to purchase the limited amounts of vaccine doses available from manufacturers. In conjunction with the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations foundation, Gavi runs a worldwide vaccination initiative called COVAX that aims to address that disparity by more equitably distributing doses.