US shipping 2.2 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses to South Africa

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(CNN) — The United States is shipping more than 2.2 cardinal doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to South Africa that are acceptable to get connected Saturday, according to a White House official.

The 2,217,150 doses are being donated done the planetary vaccination programme COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, oregon COVAX, the authoritative said. Cumulatively, the US volition person donated astir 8 cardinal COVID-19 vaccine doses to South Africa.

These latest doses are portion of President Joe Biden’s pledge to donate 500 cardinal Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to countries astir the world. Biden has said helium wants America to beryllium an “arsenal of vaccines” successful the combat against Covid-19 and has repeatedly stressed determination are nary strings attached with accepting the vaccines.

Earlier this week, Vice President Kamala Harris announced the US would donate 1 cardinal doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam. The vice president made the announcement during a gathering with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh connected Wednesday.

The latest donation to South Africa comes astir a period aft the US sent 5.7 cardinal doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine there, which was its largest bilateral donation to date.

Biden pledged astatine the Group of Seven acme earlier this twelvemonth to acquisition and donate 500 cardinal Pfizer doses to countries astir the world. The archetypal of those doses were shipped retired to Rwanda earlier this month.

The determination to donate hundreds of millions of vaccines astir the satellite volition besides service to antagonistic efforts by Russia and China to usage their ain state-funded vaccines to grow their planetary influence. The White House has said it is acrophobic by efforts by Russia and China to usage vaccines to marque geopolitical gains.

Officials person said that 200 cardinal of the 500 cardinal doses volition beryllium delivered by the extremity of this year, and the remaining 300 cardinal doses volition beryllium delivered successful the archetypal fractional of 2022. About 75% of these vaccines volition beryllium shared with COVAX and astir 25% volition beryllium shared straight with countries successful need.

The Biden medication has besides already distributed the 80 cardinal doses the President initially pledged to donate from surplus US supply.

The President has besides said $2 cardinal successful US contributions would spell toward a planetary coronavirus vaccine inaugural and would supply enactment to COVAX. He besides pledged an further $2 cardinal successful backing contingent connected contributions from different nations and dose transportation targets being met.

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