June 3 (UPI) -- The White House announced Thursday that the U.S. government will send at least 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to needy countries overseas by the end of this month, following up on a pledge President Joe Biden made to help last month.
Officials said 19 million doses will go to the international COVAX initiative, which works to provide struggling nations with supplies of coronavirus vaccine. COVAX will receive about 75% of the United States' unused doses, they said.
Six million doses will be go to "regional priorities and partner recipients" that include Mexico, Canada, South Korea, the West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Haiti, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Yemen, the White House said.
Biden said last month that his administration was willing to help other nations with supplies of the vaccines, partly because persistent outbreaks abroad also threaten Americans' health in the United States.
"As long as this pandemic is raging anywhere in the world, the American people will still be vulnerable," Biden said in a statement Thursday. "And the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.
"Already, the United States has committed $4 billion to support COVAX, and we have launched partnerships to boost global capacity to manufacture more vaccines."
The White House added that about 7 million doses are earmarked for Asia, including India, and 5 million for Africa via the African Union.
Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday spoke personally with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Caribbean Community Chairman Prime Minister Keith Rowley about the distribution plan.
"We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions," Biden added. "We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic.
"And we will continue to follow the science and to work in close cooperation with our democratic partners to coordinate a multilateral effort."