U.S. President Joe Biden has announced that an additional 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be sent abroad by the end of June including, for the first time, shots that have been authorized for use in the U.S.
This is on top of his previous commitment to share 60 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines meaning that a total of 80 million doses will be provided within the coming weeks.
Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for use in the U.S. while AstraZeneca is not.
"Rampant disease and death in other countries can destabilize them, those countries, and pose a risk to us as well. New variants could arise overseas that could put us at greater risk, and we need to help fight the disease around the world to keep us safe here at home and to do the right thing of helping other people. It's the right thing to do."
The announcement comes as the demand for vaccines in the U.S. is declining and as experts have warned that global vaccine inequality could prolong the pandemic if the coronavirus continues to mutate.
With nearly 60-percent of U.S. adults having received at least one shot, it is well ahead of many nations like Brazil and India.
But it is unclear which countries will receive the doses.
Biden said the country will not use their vaccines to secure favors from other countries.
And said they will work with COVAX, international organizations, and other partners to ensure that the vaccines are delivered in a way that follows the science and the public health data.
The White House said that it will announce in the coming days how they will decide where to send the vaccines.
Bae Eun-ji, Arirang News.