Biden pledges $4 billion to global coronavirus vaccine effort that Trump spurned

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The White House is throwing its support behind a push to equitably distribute coronavirus vaccines, pledging four billion dollars to a multilateral initiative the Trump administration chose not to back.

President Biden will on Friday announce an initial two billion dollars in funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to be used by the COVAX Facility, an initiative of the World Health Organization, senior administration officials said.

The U.S. will release an additional two billion dollars over two years once other donors have made good on their pledges, and will use this week’s Group of Seven summit to rally countries to do more.

The money, which was appropriated by a bipartisan Congressional vote last year, will give a much-needed boost to a program jointly led by Gavi, the WHO and the Center for Preparedness Innovations.

COVAX aims to get coronavirus vaccines to countries that have been cut out of a vaccine race that’s seen rich countries snap up the majority of doses, leaving everyone else to wait.

Although more than one hundred and ninety countries have joined COVAX, the Trump administration opted out, in part because of the former president’s feud with the WHO.

In remarks published Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron said the United States and Europe should provide coronavirus vaccines to developing countries by donating up to five per cent of the doses they have ordered.

Asked by journalists about whether the U.S. will share doses, administration officials stressed that the country remains focused on vaccinating all Americans, but may consider sharing down the line.

Vaccine-hoarding, shipping mishaps spark confusion about second doses

Securing an appointment for a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine might feel like a victory. But then there is round two.

Scarce supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines has stirred anxiety about whether the required second dose will be available. Different protocols in different jurisdictions — as well as several mishaps in recent weeks — have added to the frustration and concern in the greater Washington region.

Officials in Prince George’s County are so worried about a shortage of second doses that they have held some first doses in reserve, slowing the pace of vaccinations — even though the federal government now automatically schedules its second-dose shipments. In Anne Arundel County, a data error temporarily disrupted shipments, forcing the abrupt cancellation of two second-dose clinics this month. In Harford County, a second-shot clinic was partially derailed by hundreds of residents trying to get their first shot.