President Biden on Thursday offered condolences to Queen Elizabeth II on what would have been the 100th birthday of her husband, Prince Philip, who died in April.
Biden made public remarks after meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his first overseas trip as president – ahead of his announcement that the US was providing 500 million doses of the COVID vaccine. Biden is due to meet with the Queen on Sunday.
“On behalf of Jill and I, I would like to express our condolences to Queen Elizabeth II, the entire Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom,” Biden said. “Today would have been Prince Philip’s 100th birthday. I know a lot of people are feeling his absence today.”
The Queen will host Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at Windsor Castle before Biden leaves for Belgium, where she will attend the NATO summit. The UK was the first stop on his visit because of the G-7 summit in Cornwall.
Biden also touted his plan to buy 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to gift to other countries – saying the US would not want to build a geopolitical alliance through vaccine diplomacy, as China and Russia did. with countries.
“The United States will buy half a billion doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to donate to the nearly 100 countries that are in dire need in the fight against this pandemic,” Biden said.
“The important thing is this mRNA vaccine, which has proven to be extremely effective against COVID-19 and every known variant of that virus so far.”
Biden said that “200 million of these doses will be delivered this year in 2021, and 300 million more doses will be delivered in the first half of 2022.” He said the dosage would be manufactured in the US.
Vaccines from China, where the pandemic-causing virus first emerged, have been distributed to countries in Latin America and the developing world, but have shown low efficacy, except in some of the world’s most vaccinated countries, including Chile and the Seychelles. with a high rate of infection.
“As with the 80 million doses we announced earlier, the United States is providing these half a billion doses without a wire,” Biden said.
“I say it again, without any strings attached. Our vaccine donations do not involve pressure for favors or possible concessions. We are doing this to save lives, to end this pandemic. That’s it. That’s the period.”