The Biden administration, while "pursuing every effort to get every American vaccinated," against COVID-19 is also expanding its efforts to curtail the pandemic worldwide as the highly contagious Delta variant is driving illness numbers higher among people who have not gotten their shots, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday.
"As long as this virus is out there anywhere replicating, we will see variants and they will come back and bite us, as we are experiencing with Delta," Blinken said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "We had vaccines in our stockpile, 80 million, that we're making available to countries around the world. We started doing that about a month ago (and) 60 million have been distributed."
President Joe Biden also announced at the G-7 summits that the United States will provide a half-million doses of the vaccines around the world, "no strings attached, to make sure tha we can win this race," said Blinken.
The United States' leadership is also asking more countries to step up, including the G-7 partners and Japan contributing more vaccines, said Blinken.
"Production is happening," he said. "We have to get to a place where we get vaccines to as many countries as fast as we can. If we do that, we can get ahead of the variant and win the race."
But the vaccines are key to making that happen, said the secretary.
"The numbers are very clear," said Blinken. "Of the people hospitalized now, are people dying from COVID-19 in the United States, 97-98-99% are unvaccinated. It's the clear reality."
Meanwhile, Blinken said he's traveling to India next week, as that is a "critical country" in the fight against COVID.
"The Indians stood up for us in the early days when we were having great challenges helping to provide PPE, for example," said Blinken. "We have stood up for them as they have encountered wave after wave of COVID, providing a quarter of a billion of (dollars) in assistance to them. We have millions of vaccines ready to go to them when they finisher that own legal process to bring them in."
India, he added, is the leading country when it comes to the production of vaccines, but at this point is focused on its own internal challenges.
"When that production engine gets fully going and they can distribute again to the rest of the world, that will make a difference," said Blinken.
"India is the leading country when it comes to the production of vaccines," he added "Okay, they're focused understandably on their own internal challenges now. When that production engine gets fully going and can distribute again to the rest of the world, that will make a difference,
Back at home, Americans can help with the fight, he insisted.
"All we can do is ask everyone to step up to their responsibilities, to try to getting the correct information out there to people who need it, whether that's here at home or whether that's around the world," said Blinken. "Because this is a global challenge, because no one is safe until everyone is safe, countries or groups that may engage if disinformation are doing themselves a disservice. "
The production of vaccines is there, said Blinken, and the United States is also investing in production in different parts of the world.
"We do that both to get ahead of COVID-19, the pandemic, but also to set ourselves up for the next time because unfortunately there will be a next time," said Blinken. "We have to make sure we're in a much better place around the world to prevent it, to see it, to mitigate it more effectively than we do this time."
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