The US has shipped more than 400 million free COVID-19 vaccine doses to 112 needy countries around the world, the White House said Wednesday.
“Today, we will hit a major milestone in our global effort: 400 million vaccine doses shipped to 112 countries … for free, no strings attached,” White House COVID-19 Coordinator Jeff Zients said at a press conference.
“Put America’s leadership into perspective. We have shipped four times more free doses to the world than any other country,” he said.
The donated jabs include 42 million doses delivered to Pakistan, 28 million to Bangladesh and 24 million to the Philippines, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit that tracks the US’ vaccine shipments.
The giveaway is part of President Joe Biden’s plan to send 1.2 billion doses to low-income countries including 30 nations in Africa, 20 in Asia and 25 in the Western Hemisphere to combat vaccine inequity.
In recent months, health experts have said wealthy countries such as the US should give the life-saving shots to poor countries to prevent the virus from mutating into new variants such as Omicron and Delta, and spreading globally.
Critics have also criticized the US’ ethics for pushing booster shots while much of the rest of the world still hasn’t received a first dose.
As of Wednesday afternoon, a total of 405,322,310 had been shipped to needy countries, according to the US Department of State’s website.
“This disease knows no borders and is affecting the entire world, and the U.S. is showing up, leading, and helping to bring an end to COVID-19,” it declares.