The White House said on Tuesday that the United States has shipped at least 55 million vaccine doses to Africa to beat COVID-19 in one of the world’s least vaccinated continents. This is in addition to the 17 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine that will be sent to Africa in the coming weeks, and tens of millions of Pfizer vaccines that will be shipped between this year and next.
At a press briefing in Washington D.C., White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also announced a new U.S.-brokered deal between the African Union and Moderna for a supply agreement for 50 million doses with an option for a further 60 million.
The new agreement will allow Moderna to deliver about 33 million doses of vaccine between December this year and February next year. Those vaccine doses, which were originally intended for the United States, will now be purchased by and delivered to the African Union instead.
“And this unique arrangement will help facilitate an agreement between the African Union, through its vaccine acquisition vehicle, and a U.S. manufacturer, Moderna, for a supply agreement for 50 million doses with an option for a further [60 million],” she said. “This is on top of the 55 million doses — if you’re all keeping track of the — of the numbers here — that we have shipped to Africa to date, the 17 million doses of Johnson & Johnson that will be sent to Africa in the coming weeks, and tens of millions of Pfizer vaccines that will be shipped.”
Psaki noted that Africa and the African Union “is a part of the world in great need, of course, of additional assistance and it will help them get the need — it’ll help get them the need in procuring more Moderna vaccines.”
The new Moderna deal was brokered because “there’s immediate urgency for so many countries,” to get vaccines to their people, she said. “This deal will get the continent Moderna doses that have been long awaited and in high demand.”