After months of deliberations, President Biden has finalized his plan to distribute millions of coronavirus vaccines worldwide.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted earlier that an announcement was imminent, and according to multiple sources familiar with the plans, officials could reveal it as soon as today or potentially Friday.
This week, officials will detail which specific countries are getting vaccines while cautioning that this is expected to be a lengthy, complicated process, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.
For months, administration aides and federal health officials have deliberated over the best way to share additional vaccines doses. The US has come under intense pressure to help other nations, and several of Biden’s top aides have fielded requests from allies to help, including the President himself. Jeff Zients, whom Biden recently tapped to lead efforts to address the pandemic globally, has worked in close coordination with national security adviser Jake Sullivan, sources say.
Administration officials are expected to lay out the criteria they’ve agreed on to determine which countries get doses. It remains to be seen whether the US will unilaterally decide which countries get which vaccines, or whether the international vaccine initiative known as COVAX will play a major role in deciding who gets them. It could also be a combination of both, officials say.
One of the most complicated part of the decision-making process has centered on the enormous operational undertaking that sharing vaccines will require. Zients and Sullivan have worked with multiple federal agencies, including the Defense Department and State Department, to coordinate this, in addition to diplomatic counterparts.
Two big factors that will matter are quality control and a country’s public health infrastructure.
Right now, only doses of vaccines made by Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will be distributed, an official told CNN.
Biden said in May the US would send 60 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses to other countries by July Fourth. But, as of Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET, those doses have not cleared a federal safety and efficacy review conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration, another official said.