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United States to pledge $4 billion in funding for global vaccine effort

On Friday, President Biden will announce that the U.S. plans to give $4 billion in contributions to COVAX, the program working to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, senior administration officials told reporters on Thursday.

Biden will share the news during a Group of 7 meeting, the officials said, with the money coming in two waves — an initial $2 billion in funding will be released almost immediately, with $2 billion more distributed over the next two years.

COVAX is trying to get vaccines to countries that were not able to get initial doses, but has not been able to make any deliveries yet due to a lack of funding and competition from wealthy nations, The Washington Post reports. Duke University has found that high-income countries have been able to secure 4.6 billion doses, which is much more than the lower- and middle-income countries combined. French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday suggested that to alleviate this, European countries and the U.S. donate up to 5 percent of the vaccine doses they have ordered.