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Coronavirus

President Biden says nearly half of world leaders asking for US COVID-19 vaccine help

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President Joe Biden said Tuesday that almost half the world’s leaders have contacted him, asking for US help in obtaining COVID-19 vaccines.

“Every country in the world is now looking at us to provide for their lack of capacity to produce and/or have vaccines,” Biden said in a virtual meeting with US state governors.

“I literally have, virtually 40 percent of the world leaders calling and asking, can we help them,” Biden said. “We’re going to try.”

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The US leader did not say which countries he was referring to. However, there is a growing international clamor for sharing the enormous US surplus in vaccines, including in hard-hit India.

Biden pledged last month to distribute 60 million AstraZeneca doses, with India expected to be a recipient. Earlier, the White House said it was loaning four million AstraZeneca doses to neighboring Mexico and Canada.

However, Washington has come under growing pressure to release more vaccines, given a surplus expected to amount to hundreds of millions of doses.

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Biden repeated his position that he is prioritizing getting Americans inoculated but said “we are going to be working with other countries, because there are going to be a lot of variants.”

“I think we can produce a whole hell of a lot more vaccines that we can make available,” he said.

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