US to donate more than 17 million Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines to African Union
(CNN) The US will donate more than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine to the African Union, President Joe Biden announced on Thursday.
Biden made the announcement when he met with President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya on Thursday afternoon 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'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.