The United States will release an additional 20 million doses of COVID vaccines abroad, bringing the total being shipped out to 80 million, the White House said Monday.
"The United States will send 20 million doses authorized for use in the United States to help countries battling the pandemic by the end of June," Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Psaki said President Joe Biden would formally announce the move in a televised address later Monday.
The boost in shipments follows pressure on the Biden administration to use its large vaccine surplus to help other countries now that significant progress has been made in rolling out vaccinations at home.
Psaki would not say which countries would be prioritized for the shipments, but Biden has signaled that Washington will be doing what it can to help India push back against a surge in the pandemic.
The initial 60 million doses will all be of AstraZeneca, once the vaccine gets US regulatory approval. The British-developed shots have yet to be used in the United States and look increasingly unlikely ever to be needed.
Psaki did not specify what brand the extra 20 million doses would be, saying only they would be "other doses of approved vaccines."
Apparently responding to claims that the United States has been hoarding medicines, Psaki said that the 80 million figure represents "the most doses donated by any country in the world by five times."
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