As the U.S. struggles to use up its supply of vaccines, other countries continue to plead with the U.S. and other wealthier nations to share doses. More than 2.18 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, equal to 28 doses for every 100 people, with some countries yet to report a single dose, according to Our World in Data at the University of Oxford. There are 24 countries that use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the W.H.O., bemoaned at a news conference on Monday what he called a “two-track pandemic,” with wealthy countries using much of the world’s vaccine supply.
“The inequitable distribution of vaccines has allowed the virus to continue spreading, increasing the chances of a variant emerging that renders vaccines less effective,” Dr. Tedros said, adding that “the biggest barrier to ending the pandemic remains sharing: of doses, of resources, of technology.”
At the White House news conference, Mr. Slavitt said it was unrealistic to expect that the United States could avoid wasting some vaccine doses, adding that any expired Johnson & Johnson doses would not significantly affect the administration’s efforts to help vaccinate other countries.
“There is a very, very small fraction of doses that have been sent out to states that will ultimately not be used,” he said. “These will be fractional amounts and really will not have any significant bearing on our ability to commit to distribute vaccines globally.”
The Biden administration has pledged to send 80 million doses abroad by the end of the month, the first major tranche in what White House officials have said would be a sustained campaign to ship vaccines to needy areas of the world. Many of those doses were produced by AstraZeneca and are currently tied up in an F.D.A. safety review.
Last week, the administration announced it would distribute an initial 25 million doses this month across a “wide range of countries” in Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa, as well as the Palestinian territories, war-ravaged Gaza and the West Bank. Three-quarters of the initial batch will be given to the international vaccine effort known as Covax.