White House calls question about whether U.S. should offer COVID vaccine booster at home or donate vaccines abroad a 'false choice'

During a White House briefing on Wednesday, press secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. could roll out vaccine boosters to Americans while also donating vaccines to other countries, calling the question of whether to do one or the other "a false choice."

Video Transcript

- [INAUDIBLE] the WHO, the head of the WHO is calling on basically rich countries with vaccine surpluses to hold off on booster shots until the end of the year. What's the White House response to that? And is it ethical to start moving forward with booster shots at a time when so many countries are barely starting with their first shots?

JEN PSAKI: Well, our view is that this is a false choice. And the United States has donated and shared about 140 million doses with over 90 countries, more than all other countries combined. We're donating half a billion doses to 100 countries in need. Last week, we announced a plan to invest $2.7 billion in manufacturing critical vaccine inputs and expanded fill finish lines at factories. From Senegal to South Africa to India, we've made significant investments in boosting global productions of COVID vaccines.

At the same time, the president and this administration has a responsibility to do everything we can to protect people in the United States, in this country. And as our health advisors have recommended additional booster shots, we are working to implement that. Our view is we can do both.

I'd also note that there are, in addition to access to vaccine doses, one of the reasons that we have invested in areas like manufacturing critical vaccine inputs, expanded fill finish, is because sometimes the issues are also about distribution channels, about having enough personnel who are trained to distribute these shots, manufacturing capacity, certain access to certain components that go into vaccines. We're working through those as well. But we are doing both. We think we can do both. And we will continue to do both from the United States.