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Biden pledges more COVID-19 vaccine doses to boost global inoculation rates

Chris Megerian and Erin B. Logan, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

A panel that advises the Food and Drug Administration last week rejected a plan that would have made booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine available to most Americans, in part because it was unclear how the third dose would substantially contribute to controlling the pandemic. The panel backed giving extra shots to those over the age of 65 or who are immunocompromised.

Giving a healthy adult a booster to “prevent cold, mild or asymptomatic infections at the expense of costing someone in a low-income country their life to me seems unethical,” Parker said.

Officials defended the administration’s plans, saying the country will be donating three doses to other countries for each one administered to a patient in the United States.

In his speech Tuesday to the U.N. — his first as president — Biden described the pandemic as a collective challenge.

“We’re mourning more than 4.5 million people, people of every nation, from every background,” he said. “Each death is an individual heartbreak, but our shared grief is a poignant reminder that our collective future will hinge on our ability to recognize our common humanity and to act together.”

 

Dr. Walter A. Orenstein, associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center, said producing enough vaccines will be challenging.

“Manufacturing capacity has generally been adequate for the vaccines we routinely use,” Orenstein said, because not every person in the world has needed to be inoculated against every disease. But now, the whole world needs this vaccine, and manufacturing capacity is not able to meet this demand, he said.

“It’s not like overnight you can just rev up and vaccinate the entire world,” he said. The industry has never had to produce “anywhere near the number of doses we need” to combat COVID-19, he said.

Biden said his administration is working with other countries to increase their own manufacturing capacity. He said plans are underway to produce 1 billion doses in India and another 500 million doses in South Africa next year.

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