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A nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The Biden administration is planning to purchase 500 million more Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine doses to donate to the world, officials said in an op-ed Wednesday.

Why it matters: The move represents a big step toward making the U.S. a major global vaccine supplier just as China has ramped up exports of its Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSino vaccines, which can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures.

State of play: The U.S. had already bought 500 million vaccine doses from Pfizer to donate to countries in need.

  • The country has already donated more than "all other countries in the world combined," White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said during a press briefing last week.

Between the lines: Wealthier nations have more vaccines than citizens who want them, while poorer countries are facing bleaker timelines for when they can administer first doses.

What they're saying: "After purchasing 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in June to donate to the world, we’ll double that commitment, purchasing an additional 500 million Pfizer doses to give to low- and lower-middle-income countries around the globe," Zients and Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in the Washington Post.

  • "This is a monumental commitment by the United States, bringing our total number of donated vaccines to the world to more than 1.1 billion. For every one shot we’ve put in an American arm to date, we are now donating about three shots globally," they added.

Go deeper: The U.S. isn't vaccinating most of the world — but China might

Go deeper

Oct 18, 2021 - Health

Over 30 states have limited officials' public health powers

Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images

Republican lawmakers in more than 30 U.S. states have weakened health officials' authority to implement policies to protect the public against the coronavirus, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers in all 50 states have introduced bills to curb state and local officials' public health authority.

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Celebrities are America's new politicians

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Launching gubernatorial bids, making presidential endorsements, founding schools: Celebrities are getting increasingly involved in U.S. public and political life.

Why it matters: As we've reported, politics is no longer just the purview of career politicians, as companies and their CEOs throw their weight around to affect policies. Now, movie stars, famous musicians and professional athletes also are using their influence in politics.

Updated 13 mins ago - Sports

Baseball's minor leaguers get a major win

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Starting next season, MLB teams will be required to provide housing for minor league players.

Why it matters: "This is a historic victory," Harry Marino, director of the nonprofit Advocates for Minor Leaguers, told ESPN. It's also just the beginning of a fight for improved quality of life.