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

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WASHINGTON, Oct 14 (Reuters) – (*17*) Joe Biden instructed visiting Kenyan (*17*) Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday that the United States will make a one-time donation of greater than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) vaccine to the African Union, the White House stated.

“We are hopeful this donation will help AU countries build vaccination programs and get shots into arms,” the White House stated in an announcement.

The assembly with Kenyatta on the White House marked Biden’s first as president with an African chief. Kenya holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council this month. The United States and Kenya have lengthy cooperated on financial and safety initiatives together with counterterrorism.

The White House stated the donation of the vaccine doses will assist the African Union’s personal regional procurement of J&J by way of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust.

The African Union, which has 55 member states and a mixed inhabitants of over 1.3 billion individuals, has accused vaccine producers of not giving its members truthful entry. Of 5.7 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines administered around the globe by mid-September, solely 2% had been in Africa.

The 17 million doses are on prime of the 50 million the United States has already donated to the African Union. The 17 million doses of J&J can be found for supply instantly and can be delivered to the African Union within the coming weeks, the White House stated.

African international locations and the World Health Organization have been urging drugmakers for months to arrange vaccine crops on the continent to assist it safe provides of COVID-19 photographs which have been hoovered up by wealthier nations.

As of final week, solely about 4.5% of Africans had been absolutely vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, in accordance to the continent’s prime public well being official John Nkengasong.

Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Heather Timmons and Alistair Bell

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