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Biden administration to send over 80 million COVID-19 vaccines to third-world nations in coming weeks

President Joe Biden announced Monday that his administration will send 20 million COVID-19 vaccines by the end of June to foreign nations.

The 20 million U.S. approved vaccines are in addition to Biden’s previous commitment to give 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to other countries, which means 80 million will be shared with the world within the next couple of weeks. “Our vaccination program has led the world, and today we are taking an additional step to help the world,” Biden said in a speech at the White House. “No ocean is wide enough, no wall is high enough to keep us safe. Rampant disease and death in other countries can destabilize them — those countries — and pose a risk to us as well,” he added. It is unclear which countries will receive the doses. White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated Monday that the administration will announce more in the coming days about how they are deciding where to send the vaccines.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the U.S., but the AstraZeneca vaccine has not been approved yet. In March, the United States shared 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with Mexico and Canada. The announcement of the 20 million vaccines comes as demand for them in the United States is dwindling. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also amended their guidelines, allowing fully vaccinated people to abandon their masks and social distancing.

The White House lifted its own mask requirement forcefully vaccinated staff and at least 18 states and some major retailers plan to forgo their mask mandates. “Today for the first time since the pandemic began, cases are down in all 50 states,” Mr. Biden said Monday. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is a Chief Medical Advisor to the President, cited three factors as driving the change from health officials. One being the accumulation of data showing the “real-world effectiveness” of the vaccines. A second being studies showing the vaccines protect against new coronavirus variants. A final reason being the information showing that it is unlikely for a vaccinated individual who becomes infected transmits the disease to another.

“The accumulation of all of those scientific facts, information, and evidence brought the CDC to make that decision to say now when you’re vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask, not only outdoors, but you don’t need to wear it indoors,” Dr. Fauci said. Fauci expects the CDC will release more specific guidance for those who are fully vaccinated in certain settings, like the workplace. The nation last week eclipsed 250 million doses administered and as of Monday morning,  60% of U.S. adults received at least a singular shot with 47% of adults fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

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ARTICLE: JACOB ZUBY

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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