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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The global vaccine supply is finally opening up for countries that desperately need the ammo in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Driving the news: The Biden administration will buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to share with countries around the world, with the option to buy an additional 200 million.

The news came just a day after the Mastercard Foundation donated $1.3 billion to Africa's COVID-19 response.

  • It also comes amid increasingly serious debate over the TRIPS waiver, which would suspend intellectual property protections COVID-19 vaccines.

What we're watching: The administration has already said President Biden will press other rich democracies to share doses.

  • The "G7 will vow to deliver at least 1 billion extra doses of vaccines over [the] next year to cover 80% of the world's adult population," according to a draft communique seen by Bloomberg News, their senior White House reporter Jennifer Jacobs tweeted.

But, but, but: There needs to be more investment into readiness to deliver the vaccines.

  • "By the end of this year, most countries globally will see distribution, delivery, and demand as the key constraints to vaccination, not supply," Duke's Global Health Institute founding director Krishna Udayakumar told Axios.

What's next: Biden could pursue similar deals with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

  • "We would be very interested to help ... provide more doses to low-income countries," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said via email. "We are investing to get up to 3B doses in 2022 and we are doing this manufacturing capacity increase to ensure we can help."

Go deeper

U.S. to buy 500 million Pfizer doses to share with the world

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Biden administration will buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to share with countries around the world, with the option to buy an additional 200 million, two sources familiar with the deal tell Axios.

Why it matters: That's a big step toward making the U.S. a major global vaccine supplier and comes as Biden departs for his first foreign trip as president.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Emergency room visits of all kinds dropped amid the pandemic — NY smart-thermometer network could predict next COVID wave.
  2. Vaccines: FDA clears 10 million J&J vaccine doses from contaminated Baltimore plant — Moderna asks FDA to expand COVID-19 vaccine authorization to adolescents.
  3. Cities: Seattle becomes first major city to get 70% fully vaccinated — Schools nationwide prepare for packed kindergartens this fall.
  4. Work: Goldman Sachs requires U.S. employees to report vaccination status.
  5. Politics: U.S. to buy 500 million Pfizer doses to share with the world — State Department eases travel advisories for dozens of countries.
  6. World: Moscow orders new restrictions amid surge in COVID-19 cases — 12 Venezuela players, staff contract COVID-19 before Copa America opener — 2021 already has a higher global coronavirus death toll than 2020.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Back to normal without herd immunity.
  8. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jun 9, 2021 - Health

Fauci sounds alarm over COVID-19 variant surging in U.K.

Anthony Fauci urged Americans Wednesday to get vaccinated to halt the spread of the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant first discovered in India, which currently accounts for 6% of infections in the U.S.

Why it matters: The United Kingdom has seen an explosion in new cases as a result of the variant, which is now the dominant strain and may be associated with increased disease severity.