US President Joe Biden will announce on Friday a total contribution of $4 billion to the Covax facility, a programme backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines around the world that his predecessor Donald Trump had spurned over his feud with the global health body. The remaining $2 billion will be allocated over the next two years to expand vaccine manufacturing and delivery, with the first $500 million expected to be released quickly.
The situation is similar in other rich countries.
The announcement, which Biden will announce on a call with G7 leaders, will provide a boon to Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX, which is led by the World Health Organization.
French President Emmanuel Macron, in an interview Thursday with the Financial Times, called on the USA and European nations to allocate up to 5% of current vaccine supplies to developing countries - the kind of vaccine diplomacy that China and Russian Federation have begun deploying. Allowing high numbers of infections to continue across the world is also likely to lead to new virus variants that can threaten to prolong the pandemic for rich and poor countries alike, experts argue.
The vaccine is being rolled out in South Africa, for the first time outside a major clinical trial.
Biden administration officials said their focus was also on vaccinating Americans and sought to separate the domestic and worldwide efforts.
The "majority" of any future United Kingdom surplus coronavirus vaccines will be shared with the World Health Organization-backed Covax program, Johnson's office said late Thursday in a statement.
"This huge excess is the embodiment of vaccine nationalism", said Jenny Ottenhoff, ONE Campaign's senior director for policy.
The Group of Seven industrialized nations are the United States, Germany, Japan, Britain, France, Canada and Italy.
Macron said he was concerned about the "war of influence over vaccines" sparked by China and Russian Federation donating doses of their home-grown vaccines to poor countries.
Other wealthy nations have also begun reserving large orders of vaccines, leaving poorer nations to rely on the COVAX initiative for their populations - or on countries such as China, India and Russian Federation, who have begun directly donating their state-produced vaccines to other nations.
The head of the Gavi vaccine alliance, which co-leads the programme, has also said COVAX needs greater political support, as wealthier nations strike fresh deals with developers to secure limited supplies. The vaccine, which is administered in a one-dose jab, is also pending emergency use authorization from the FDA.