US donating 7 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to Asia, including Malaysia

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The US plans to make an initial donation of seven million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to countries in Asia, including Malaysia, the US government said in a fact sheet yesterday.

AP

In the fact sheet released by the White House yesterday, the US government said it plans to share at least 80 million US Covid-19 vaccine doses globally by the end of June, with the first batch to involve 25 million of such doses.

The fact sheet said nearly 19 million or at least 75 percent of the initial 25 million vaccine doses would be shared through the international Covid-19 vaccine-sharing initiative Covax.

The planned allocations by the US for the sharing of the nearly 19 million doses include approximately seven million for Asia, namely to Malaysia as well as India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, and the Pacific Islands.

The fact sheet said the nearly 19 million doses would also cover approximately six million for countries in South and Central America, and approximately five million for countries in Africa selected in coordination with the African Union.

As for the remaining nearly 25 percent of the initial 25 million doses, this would amount to approximately six million targeted toward regional priorities and partner recipients, including Mexico, Canada, South Korea, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, India, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as for United Nations frontline workers.

This proposed allocation plan for the first 25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine that the US plans to share with the world will be subject to legal and regulatory approvals, the fact sheet said.

The US said it will move as fast as possible while complying with the US and the host country’s regulatory and legal requirements, to facilitate the safe and secure transport of vaccines across international borders.

It also indicated this process would “take time” but said the US president had already directed the US government to use all its levers to protect individuals from the Covid-19 virus as quickly as possible.

“The specific vaccines and amounts will be determined and shared as the Administration works through the logistical, regulatory and other parameters particular to each region and country,” the fact sheet said.

The same fact sheet said the US government would go beyond providing funding for the Covax facility, adding that it would donate from its own Covid-19 vaccine supply to the world and would encourage other countries to do similar vaccine donations, and would work with US manufacturers to increase production of Covid-19 vaccine for the rest of the world and would help more countries expand their own capacity for vaccine-production.

In detailing its plans for sharing the 80 million US vaccine doses globally, the fact sheet said 75 percent would be shared through Covax while the remaining 25 per cent would be shared for immediate needs and to help deal with countries facing surges of Covid-19 cases, countries in need and those that had requested immediate US assistance.

Among other things, the US said it would prepare for surges and prioritise healthcare workers and other vulnerable populations based on public health data and acknowledged best practice but said its donating of Covid-19 vaccine doses is not to get favours.

“We will share with countries in urgent need, with a priority on vaccinating frontline workers. The United States will not use its vaccines to secure favours from other countries.

“The US will work with partners who are both ready and in need. And, our donations will prioritise countries with vaccine readiness plans that prioritise individuals at highest risk of severe disease and those working to help care for them, like health care workers,” the fact sheet said.

The fact sheet was released on the same day as US president Joe Biden’s statement on the US plans to share Covid-19 vaccines in a bid to help end the Covid-19 pandemic internationally, noting that Americans would be vulnerable as long as the pandemic is raging anywhere in the world.

In announcing that the US would be the “world’s arsenal of vaccines” in the shared fight against the Covid-19 virus, he had stressed that the US sharing of the doses are “not to secure favours or extract concessions”, but to help save lives and lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic. – MMO