Well, President Biden and the White House is presenting this pledge to donate 500 million COVID vaccine doses to struggling nations as really part of America’s responsibility to help the world and also as being in America’s interests to try to keep our own people safe.
But it does come as the U.S. is facing pressure to do more to help other countries get vaccinated, and as the U.S. was facing criticism in the way we went about vaccinating our own people. So, today, the president spoke at length about this donation of 500 million doses.
And what he said was America steps up when people need us. He said that it is the American way, the American value system to be able to look at people and see them — and see them struggling and doing more. He said, it is our responsibility as Americans to help as many people as possible not die from this pandemic.
And he pointed out that 600 — almost 600,000 Americans have already died from the virus. He also said, though, that this is because America will benefit from this donation. He said that the only way this pandemic is going to end is if people around the world are vaccinated.
And he pointed out that there are variants going on even here in the U.K. that were originally in other countries. One of the highest variants that we’re seeing in the U.K. right now, it originated in India. So this was really President Biden making that pitch.
But the other thing we should note is that European leaders over and over again were asking, what else can the United States do? How much more can the United States do to help with vaccine donation? So that comes amid that.
Also, you heard some European leaders, including the prime minister of Belgium, saying that the U.S., the way we were prioritizing production through the Defense Production Act, that it actually upset the global supply chain. So, that’s an accusation that European leaders are making against the United States that prioritized making sure that Americans had the vaccine and that they were produced domestically.