President Joe Biden will send at least 20 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad by the end of June, marking the first time the United States is sharing vaccines authorized for domestic use.
The move marks a notable pivot from the White House as the administration seeks to use the country’s vaccine supply as a diplomatic tool with the pandemic outlook brightening at home.
Biden announced on Monday that his administration will send doses of the Pfizer Inc (PFE.N)/BioNTech SE , Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) vaccines, on top of 60 million AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) doses he had already planned to give to other countries.
Unlike the others, AstraZeneca’s shot is not yet authorized for use in the United States.
“Just as in World War Two America was the arsenal of democracy, in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic our nation is going to be the arsenal of vaccines,” Biden said.
The president has been under pressure to share vaccines to help contain worsening epidemics from India to Brazil, where health experts fear new, more contagious coronavirus variants could undermine the effectiveness of available shots.