The United States announced on Thursday (3) that it would initially ship 6 million vaccines against Covid-19 to Brazil and at least 12 other Latin American countries. The sharing will be done through Covax, an initiative linked to the WHO for the distribution of doses to developing countries.
The amount is a slice of the 80 million doses that US President Joe Biden has announced he will send to other countries in the coming weeks.
In a statement Thursday, Biden released details of the first part of the distribution plan, sending 25 million vaccines overseas. Of these, around 25%, or 19 million doses, will be distributed via Covax, depending on the participation of each country in the consortium: there will be around 6 million doses for Latin America and the Caribbean, including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Bolivia, El Salvador, among others; 7 million for South and South East Asia, such as India, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam; and 5 million for Africa, in countries which, according to the White House, will be selected by the African Union.
The remaining 6 million doses to close the account of the first 25 million will be shared directly with countries which, the statement said, “are going through epidemics”, such as India and Mexico. Despite the seriousness of the pandemic situation in Brazil, the White House does not mention the country in this bilateral breakdown – Brazil has a small stake in Covax by decision of the Jair Bolsonaro government.
“Today we provide more details on how we will allocate the first 25 million doses of these vaccines to pave the way for greater global coverage and address actual and potential epidemics, high disease burdens and to the needs of the most vulnerable countries, ”Biden said in a statement.
The rest of the doses – 55 million – will follow the same pattern of this first part of the distribution plan: 75% via Covax and 25% shared directly with neighboring countries and partners.
The White House is under international pressure to help the poorest and developing countries fight the pandemic, and the Brazilian government – through the embassy in Washington and Itamaraty – is asking for access to some of the immunizing agents.
Behind China in vaccine donations, the United States has so far not decided where the doses will go, nor presented a detailed distribution plan. US authorities say they have been wanted “by all regions of the world”, but had already indicated that Brazil was one of the destinations considered by Biden.
The Brazilian government first approached the White House in March, only after the US press reported that Biden was considering giving doses, and after other countries had already made the same request, such as Mexico.
On May 19, Brazilian Ambassador to the United States Nestor Forster met with the United States Department of State’s Global Pandemic Response Coordinator Gayle Smith, as well as representatives from other countries in the Western Hemisphere. , to discuss vaccine distribution. But nothing concrete was decided at the time.
With the denial of the Jair Bolsonaro government, new variants and a very slow vaccination rate, Brazil is slipping into the fight against the pandemic and is today one of the epicenters of the crisis, with nearly 465,000 dead. The United States, for its part, is the leader in death toll – with an estimated 595,000 victims – but has seen cases, deaths and hospitalizations plummet amid a successful mass vaccination campaign.
The White House bought enough vaccine to immunize the entire population three times, applied at least one dose to 63% of adults nationwide, but had been criticized for prioritizing internal immunization, even with excess doses, while several places in the world are ravaged by the crisis, as is the case in Brazil and India.
In recent days, the pace of vaccinations in the United States has slowed – with popular skepticism about vaccination – and Biden and the governors have announced incentives and plans to try to reach 70% of adults vaccinated d ‘here on July 4, when the president declared that the country will finally be in the so-called new normal.
In a speech in early May, Biden announced he would ship an additional 20 million doses of vaccine overseas by the end of June, in addition to the 60 million doses of AstraZeneca he had already pledged. to be distributed in other countries during the same period.
The Democrat wants to lead vaccine diplomacy, currently led by China, which has already shared 252 million doses abroad, or 42% of its total production. By way of comparison, the 80 million doses promised by the United States represent 13% of local manufacture. The European Union, meanwhile, has already exported 111 million doses, and Russia, 27 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Biden explained that the new doses would fall outside the scope of the three immunizers already approved for use in the United States – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – while AstraZeneca’s items still need to be approved by the FDA. , the US regulatory agency.
The distribution of vaccines, according to the president and his assistants, will be done on the basis of public health data, in agreement with partners and, mainly, with the consortium Covax Facility, an initiative linked to the WHO for the distribution of doses to developing countries.
The United States had already agreed in March to loan 4 million doses of AstraZeneca to Mexico and Canada, but the number for neighboring countries was considered symbolic.
At the end of April, there was the announcement of the sharing of the 60 million doses of AstraZeneca, which remained in stock, without authorization for use by the FDA.