WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (CNA) - President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Tuesday (Dec 8) to ensure that priority access for COVID-19 vaccines procured by the US government is given to the American people before assisting other nations, a senior administration official said on Monday.

Trump, who has faced sharp criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, is eager to take credit for the speedy development and distribution of a vaccine.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters that the order would set up a framework for US government agencies to help other countries procure the vaccine as well.

It was unclear why an executive order was needed to ensure that the vaccines would be distributed in the United States.

The White House is holding a summit event on Tuesday to highlight the distribution process through Trump's Operation Warp Speed, which has been organising the effort.

Trump has followed an "America First" motto as president, and his aides want to make clear that that same policy is at work with vaccine distribution.