Sri Lanka included in US vaccine donation scheme | Daily News

Sri Lanka included in US vaccine donation scheme

The Biden administration on Thursday announced it will share 80 million excess doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of June, with specific plans on sharing the first 25 million doses to areas in need.

Approximately seven million doses will head to Asia, including to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Maldives, Nepal, the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Five million vaccine doses will be shared with Africa in coordination with the African Union.

The long-awaited announcement shows that the majority, 19 million doses, will be shared via COVAX, the United Nations (UN) mechanism to ensure vaccine access for low- and middle-income countries and territories. Six million will target regional priorities and partner recipients, including Canada, Haiti, Kosovo, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Ukraine, the West Bank and Gaza, along with Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen, as well as UN frontline workers.

Of the nearly 19 million doses that will be shared through COVAX, approximately six million are slated for a number of countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru in South America, along with the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. Haiti and other Caribbean Community countries, as well as the Dominican Republic, which borders Haiti, are included.

In a briefing to reporters, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the administration will continue to donate excess supply as it becomes available.

“This is just the right thing to do,” Sullivan said. “And as the president has said, [the] United States will not use its vaccines to secure favours from other countries.”

Of the 80 million doses — or 13 percent of the total U.S. vaccine production — that the Biden administration has committed so far to share worldwide — 75 percent will be donated through COVAX, prioritizing Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa. The rest will be shared directly with places experiencing surges, immediate neighbors, and other countries that have requested immediate U.S. assistance.

Sullivan said that the U.S. will have the authority to determine where the doses distributed via COVAX will be allocated. “But that will be done in very close consultation in partnership with COVAX, and, crucially, according to COVAX’s formula, and then using the COVAX logistics capacity and delivery capacity to ensure that these doses actually translate into shots in arms that help save people’s lives.”

The United Nations welcomed the move, with a spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, saying, “It is very important for wealthy countries, developed countries to share as much as possible with COVAX.”

“And as the Secretary-General has noted, none of us will be safe until all of us are safe, which means that vaccines need to be within reach of everyone, everywhere,” Dujarric said, referring to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (VOA)