A large donation of vaccines will soon be shipped out to Peru: 2 million doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine are the first major donation of President Biden’s pledge to donate 80 million vaccine doses to countries in need.
According to a White House official, the first of 2 million doses will leave American ports on Monday, July 5 bound for Peru. While the United States is approaching half its population fully vaccinated (47 percent, as of June 30), Peru is reporting only 9 percent of the same with only 7.2 million doses given out so far. The global average is approximately 11 percent.
“America will be the arsenal of vaccines in our fight against Covid-19, just as America was the arsenal of democracy during World War Two,” Biden said in a press conference in June. “We’re doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That’s it. Period.”
The president has, since before his inauguration, framed vaccine donations as a moral prerogative for the United States, which despite early production bottlenecks, has had a surplus of supply over demand for three months now. The slow response to share this surplus has caused some criticism of the U.S.’s “hoarding” of vaccine doses that are desperately needed across the globe. But now, it looks as though the first steps are actually being taken to remedy this.
Biden also points out that defeating the pandemic, which can only be done via global vaccination efforts, is in the country’s best interest. Both economic slowdowns and the rise of new COVID-19 variants in low-vaccine areas continue to threaten American safety and prosperity.
The vaccines donated to Peru are done with no strings attached, no trade demands or policy pressure. It is important to President Biden that we not engage in “vaccine diplomacy,” using our position to pressure other countries for favors or concessions.
As well as the shipments of Pfizer to Peru, 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine will be shipped to Pakistan, which has fully vaccinated only 1.6 percent of their population. Theirs will be shipped and distributed via COVAX, the global vaccine program run by the World Health Organization.