US donating 17 million additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to the African Union

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The United States is donating millions of doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to the African Union, the White House said Thursday.

The 17 million doses will arrive in the coming weeks. These are in addition to the 50 million doses already sent to the 55-member continental union.

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The doses will “help close the vaccine equity gap,” the White House said in a statement.

The African Union, whose states comprise more than 1.3 billion people, has alleged that manufacturers are not giving its member states adequate access to vaccines. Only 2% of the approximately 5.7 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines given to people around the world have been in Africa.

The Biden administration has dispatched tens of millions of vaccine doses to other countries through the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), which is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Biden mentioned the donation during a bilateral press conference with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in the Oval Office on Thursday.

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“We’re continuing our shared fight against COVID,” said Biden. “The United States has donated 2.8 million doses of vaccine to Kenya as part of a 50 million doses we’ve donated to the African Union.

“And I’m proud to announce that today that we’re making an additional, historic one-time donation of 17 more million doses of J&J vaccine to the AU, and we’re going to be sending some more of it by the end of the year to Kenya.”

Jon Brown

Jon Brown

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