US boosting world vaccine sharing commitment to 80M doses; plus the latest virus news

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President Joe Biden said Monday that the U.S. will share an additional 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with the world in the coming six weeks as domestic demand for shots drops and global disparities in distribution have grown more evident.

The doses will come from existing production of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocks, marking the first time that U.S.-controlled doses of vaccines authorized for use in the country will be shared overseas. It will boost the global vaccine sharing commitment from the U.S. to 80 million.

“We know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic that’s raging globally is under control,” Biden said at the White House.

The announcement comes on top of the Biden’s administration’s prior commitment to share about 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in the U.S., by the end of June. The AstraZeneca doses will be available to ship once they clear a safety review by the Food and Drug Administration.

In other developments:

  • The U.S. Treasury Department says 39 million families are set to receive monthly child payments beginning on July 15. The payments are part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Nearly 88% of children are set to receive the benefits without their parents needing to take any additional action.
  • The government’s new guidance on masks for vaccinated people has left some Americans confused and sent businesses and states scrambling to adjust their rules.
  • California and New York are changing their mask mandates, with California waiting until June to loosen restrictions while New Yorkers can stop wearing masks in most places on Wednesday.
  • With the first drawing for Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery system scheduled for May 26, state officials announced major changes to the process Monday, including an opt-in only entry and verification process.