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The White House has said the United States will donate more than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from its domestic supplies to the African Union.
President Biden made the announcement Thursday as he met Kenyan Uhuru Kenyatta at the White House, Biden’s first one-on-one meeting with an African leader.
“We continue our common fight against COVID,” Biden said at the meeting.
The vaccine donation is in addition to the 50 million doses of vaccine already given by the United States to the African Union, according to the White House.
The 17 million J&J vaccines will be available for delivery immediately and will be delivered to the African Union in the coming weeks.
Kenyatta thanked Biden for helping both Kenya and other African countries, saying the United States had “stepped up” on vaccine donations and access to vaccines for other countries.
The news of Kenya’s 17 million vaccine donation comes after the World Health Organization said last month that the African continent was missing nearly 500 million doses to meet its goal of vaccinating 40% of the world’s people. by the end of 2021.
“African countries need clear delivery dates to be able to plan properly. We also need strong structures in place to ensure that all promises made are promises kept,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, regional director of the World Health Organization for Africa in a statement on the shortage. .
To date, less than half of African countries that have received COVID-19 vaccines have fully immunized only 2% or less of their population, according to the WHO.