The U.S. on Monday sent 2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Peru as the South American country battles surges of the coronavirus and suffers the worst per-capita death rate in the world.
White House officials said it is a direct gift, while the U.S. also is sending 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Pakistan through COVAX, a global vaccine-sharing alliance.
The announcement comes after a weekend donation of 1.5 million doses to Honduras.
“We will continue to share as many safe and effective vaccines with as many people around the world as fast as possible until COVID-19 is defeated,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted.
Previously, the U.S. sent doses to Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan.
President Biden committed to sharing 80 million doses through June and purchasing 500 million doses from Pfizer for export through the first half of next year. He says it is the right thing to do and will protect Americans by wrangling the virus before it can evolve into dangerous versions that threaten the homeland again.
The president said U.S. gifts to other nations won’t come with strings attached, though the donations are a counterpunch to China, which is wielding vaccines as a conduit for business deals and diplomacy.
Mr. Biden supported a plan to waive patent rights so countries can make generic versions of the vaccine. But the idea ran into opposition from European counterparts, who said they want to safeguard intellectual property and there are other ways to spur production or share vaccines.
The American donation to Peru is notable. The Andean nation has suffered nearly 590 deaths per 100,000 members of its population from COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University mortality tracker.
It is by far the worst rate, above 243 per 100,000 in Brazil and 184 in the U.S.