Home NewsAfrica U.S. donates 17 million J&J doses to African Union

U.S. donates 17 million J&J doses to African Union

by Haruna Gimba

By Haruna Gimba with agency report

The United States will donate more than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to the African Union, President Joe Biden announced.

President Biden made the announcement when he met with President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya at the White House.

The 17 million doses will be delivered to the African Union in the coming weeks, a senior administration official said. This donation is in addition to the 50 million doses the US has already sent to the African Union.

Kenyatta is the first African leader Biden has welcomed to the White House during his presidency.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is highly valued in Africa because of its single-dose vaccination style and flexibility in storage and transport. The official noted the J&J vaccine is in high-demand and short-supply in Africa.

The move is part of the President Biden’s effort to reassert US leadership on the world stage and help countries around the world struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks combat the pandemic. It will also serve to counter efforts by Russia and China to use their own state-funded vaccines to expand their global influence.

Biden announced last month the US was purchasing an additional 500 million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to donate to low- and lower-middle-income countries around the world, bringing the total number of vaccines the US has pledged to donate to more than 1 billion.

These vaccines will be distributed through COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, the global vaccination program known as COVAX.

The U.S. President has also called on other world leaders to increase their vaccine donations to countries that need them the most to help end the pandemic.

He has also called on governments and international institutions to help solve the global oxygen crisis and make tests and therapeutics more readily available.

The donations come as many fully vaccinated Americans get booster COVID-19 shots. Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration said it would grant emergency use authorization for a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in people 65 and older, people at high risk of severe disease and people whose jobs put them at risk of infection.

The executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, Mike Ryan, has criticized the US distributing booster shots, arguing vaccines need to be prioritized for those in other parts of the world who haven’t had any COVID-19 shots yet.

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