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Expand chart

The U.S. accounts for 27% of the world’s coronavirus vaccine production, but 0% of the global supply beyond its own borders. Critics and allies alike say it’s time for that to change.

Why it matters: China has gotten a head start on vaccine diplomacy, sending millions of doses all over the globe, including to Latin America. Experts say it’s in America’s interests to compete in the race to vaccinate the world, and the calls to start doing so are getting louder.

Driving the news: The Biden administration took a tentative first step last week, offering around 4 million total doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine — which isn’t authorized for use in the U.S. — to Mexico and Canada.

  • The administration has also pledged $4 billion to the global COVAX initiative and more still to help increase supplies to Asia. But it’s holding tight to virtually every dose produced in the U.S.

"We're going to have excess supply," said Zeke Emanuel, vice provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, who was a member of Biden’s coronavirus task force during the transition.

  • "It would be unethical, and it would be a diplomatic and strategic mistake, to say we need to build up a buffer of 100 million doses while China and Russia are selling to people and saying, you know, 'You guys count,'" he tells Axios.

Where it stands: China has made about 33% of all the vaccine doses in the world. It’s exporting about 62% of its doses to other countries, which it can do, in part, because it largely has the virus under control domestically.

  • The U.S. is the second-biggest producer, at 27%, but its bulk contracts with manufacturers keep doses produced in the U.S. from leaving.
  • The global supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is coming from the EU, which is exporting 48% of its production, vs. 0% from the U.S. according to Airfinity, a science information and analytics company.
  • Moderna is using its European facilities to supply Canada with doses, because all doses produced at U.S. sites are going toward the 300 million the U.S. has purchased.

"It is a de facto ban" on exports, one European diplomat told Axios with some exasperation.

  • The diplomat acknowledged that the U.S. had made early investments to ramp up supply, and thus should expect priority access — but expressed surprise that there was so little domestic opposition to Biden's "Americans first" approach.
  • Leaders in Brussels are vigorously debating whether to tighten controls on exports from the EU, accusing the U.S. and U.K. of accepting imports while failing to reciprocate.
  • Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the Serum Institute of India, says the Biden administration’s applications of the Defense Production Act to steer supplies toward vaccine manufacturing in the U.S. are causing shortages elsewhere. India is exporting about 65% of the doses made there.
Expand chart
Note: This map represents the total number of vaccines administered, not people vaccinated; Data: Our World in Data; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

What's next: Most of the other major players will still be facing huge domestic needs long after the U.S. has secured enough doses for its entire adult population. That means the tap could soon be flipped on, allowing U.S.-made vaccines to flow all over the world.

  • Emanuel expects that tipping point to come in June or July.
  • Krishna Udayakumar, director of the Duke Global Health Innovation Center, said the U.S. could become the top exporter by the second half of the year.
  • The U.S. has already purchased enough doses of approved vaccines to vaccinate 500 million people — more than enough for its entire adult population (roughly 250 million people) with plenty to spare for children and potential booster shots. Then there are 410 million additional doses from AstraZeneca and Novavax, which could be approved by May.

“The question really is, what is the threshold that’s going to satisfy the administration enough to allow the exporting of those doses?” Udayakumar says.

Go deeper: Vaccines and stimulus pave the way for a big, uneven global recovery

Go deeper

Super typhoon Surigae explodes to Cat. 5 intensity

Super Typhoon Surigae seen on satellite imagery Saturday morning east of the Philippines. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Super Typhoon Surigae surged in intensity from a Category 1 storm on Friday to a beastly Category 5 monster on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 190 mph with higher gusts.

Why it matters: This storm — known as Typhoon Bising in the Philippines — is just the latest of many tropical cyclones to undergo a process known as rapid intensification, a feat that studies show is becoming more common due to climate change. It weakened slightly, to the equivalent of a strong Category 4 storm, on Sunday.

3 hours ago - World

Biden adviser warns "there will be consequences" for Russia if Navalny dies

The Biden administration warned the Russian government "that there will be consequences" if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.

The big picture: Sullivan also defended President Biden for not mentioning Navalny in a Thursday speech about Russia or in a Tuesday call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the White House aims to deal with the issue "privately and through diplomatic channels."

3 killed, 2 wounded overnight in Kenosha bar shooting

Three people died and two were hospitalized with serious injuries after a gunman entered bar in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, the police department said in a statement on Sunday. Police responded to the shooting at around 12:42 a.m. and the suspect has not been found.

The big picture: The midnight shooting is the latest in a string of deadly mass shootings to hit the U.S. since March, fueling a debate in Washington about how to regulate the weapons.