US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Moderna are reportedly set to send millions of doses of COVID vaccines to Latin America, as their domestic output begin to exceed local demand.
Considering a report from Reuters, the US is planning to export 80 million doses, particularly to countries in the Western hemisphere. The main beneficiaries will be Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru, and Uruguay.
President Joe Biden has not disclosed his final decision as to which countries he would send the vaccines to. His advisors are reportedly persuading him to choose Latin American countries, arguing that vaccines could also help stem the inflow of illegal immigrants.
China’s increased use of ‘vaccine diplomacy’ to isolate Taiwan is also adding pressure on the White House to export vaccines to Latin America.
So far, the Biden administration has sent roughly 4 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to Mexico and Canada. The British firm is producing millions of doses of its covishield vaccine in the US, although it is not authorized to sell there. Reports say AstraZeneca could have racked up more than 30 million doses in its US facilities.
Many countries in Latin America have approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer, but they have not received the amount of doses they had bid for.
Meanwhile, thousands of people in Latin America are seeking the US visa in order to secure a vaccine. LatAm residents accounted for 77% of all visitors traveling to the US this year.