© Reuters. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Mexico and the member states of the Central American Integration System (SICA) at the Intercontinental Hotel Costa Rica in San Jose, Costa Rica on June 1, 2021. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein
From Humeyra Pamuk
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (Reuters) – The United States will announce in the next two weeks how it plans to distribute 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses worldwide, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday.
At a joint press conference with Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado, Blinken said the administration of US President Joe Biden would focus on a fair distribution of vaccines and not tie political threads to the process, a criticism that is sometimes directed against China.
“Sometime in the next or two weeks – we will announce the process by which we will distribute these vaccines, what the criteria are, how we will do it,” said Blinken during his first trip as foreign minister to Latin America. fighting to contain COVID-19.
“We will distribute vaccines without any political requirements from the recipients.”
On Monday, Biden said his government would get at least 20 million doses of the Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 Inc / BioNTech SE, Modern (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE 🙂 vaccines, in addition to the 60 million AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 Plc doses he had already planned to give to other countries.
Biden’s government has come under pressure to swap vaccines to curb the worsening of outbreaks from India to Brazil, where health experts fear that new, more contagious variants of coronavirus could undermine the effectiveness of available vaccinations.
Blinken said the announcement would reveal the criteria and details of the process, but the United States would focus on the equitable distribution and coordination of the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility.
As the pandemic outlook in the United States brightens as vaccination progresses, the pledge of relief is central to the government’s efforts to use US vaccine supplies as a tool to combat Chinese and Russian vaccine diplomacy.
When asked whether the United States made vaccine commitments to Central America or Costa Rica during that trip, a senior State Department official said it had not made any region- or country-specific commitments.
“We don’t know what the final distribution will look like. Much of this has largely to do with epidemiology and where science says we should dedicate these vaccines to prevent further spread, “the official told reporters in a briefing.
Biden, who has loaned some unused vaccines to Canada and Mexico and donated funds to a multilateral vaccination campaign for poor countries, said in April the White House is still exploring its options to eventually send vaccines to Canada, Central America and elsewhere.
Costa Rica’s Alvarado said his country was hoping for quick news about vaccine distribution.
On Tuesday, the World Bank asked the US to release excess vaccines.
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