Overseas manufacturing plants helped by U.S. funds could produce 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine by end of 2022
The U.S. is helping fund vaccine plants overseas as countries around the globe seek to inoculate their citizens against COVID-19.
U.S officials are set to make a trip to South Africa and India to visit vaccine manufacturing sites and determine ways the country can help increase the production of the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines.
David Marchick, COO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), told NPR that the manufacturing sites visited could produce 2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of next year.
“We’re trying to help create hubs for vaccine manufacturing and hubs for this type of expertise,” Marchick told NPR. “Much like Silicon Valley is a hub for technology.”
The DFC’s primary function is to help secure funds for infrastructure projects in other parts of the world, according to NPR, which reports the government agency has contributed almost $600 million in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine since President Joe Biden took office in January.
Marchick is leading a team of Biden officials to tour the vaccine manufacturing plants, including ones where Pfizer vaccines and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are to be produced.
“What we’ve learned through the pandemic is that we need more manufacturing, we need stronger supply chains and we need diversification of the supply chains,” Marchick told NPR. “So we’ve been focused on driving manufacturing in different regions in large countries like India and smaller countries like South Africa.”
While Biden has pledged the U.S. will share 1.1 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with other countries, the president has received pushback from organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) for offering vaccine booster shots to Americans before people from other countries have had their first shot.
“Boosting the entire U.S. population while poor people are dying in poor countries is tone-deaf and is widely viewed as uncaring,” Lawrence Gostin, director of WHO, told CNBC. “It’s also a slap in the face to WHO after it called for a booster moratorium.”