Biden: US donation of 500 million vaccines will ‘supercharge’ global virus fight

President Biden on Thursday touted a U.S. donation of 500 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine as a step to “supercharge” the global fight against the virus.

Biden, speaking in the United Kingdom at a meeting of G7 global leaders, made the formal announcement of the dose donation while standing next to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

“We’re taking a major step that will supercharge the global fight against this pandemic,” Biden said, saying the U.S. will be the “arsenal of vaccines” just as it was the “arsenal of democracy” during World War II.

The details: The first vaccines will begin shipping in August and 200 million will be available this year, the White House said, with the remaining 300 million in the first half of next year. The doses will go to 92 lower-income countries.

More still needed? The progressive group Public Citizen praised the announcement but said more needs to be done to boost global manufacturing of vaccines, not just donating doses made with the current capacity.

“The world needs urgent new manufacturing to produce billions more doses within a year, not just commitments to buy the planned inadequate supply,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program.