With 4 million Moderna vaccine donations to Nigeria and 5.6 million Pfizer to South Africa, Biden administration has now shipped 16.4 million vaccine doses to Africa

With the latest 4 million Moderna vaccine donations to Nigeria and 5.6 million Pfizer to South Africa announced on Wednesday, the United States has now shipped a total of 16.4 million vaccine doses to Africa from a pledge President Joseph R. Biden Jr. made on May 17 when he announced that the U.S. will donate 80 million vaccine doses to the world by the end of June, including 25 million to African nations.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden walk along the beach at the Carbis Bay Hotel and Estate for the G7 welcome ceremony Friday, June 11, 2021 in St. Ives, Cornwall, England. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) 
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden walk along the beach at the Carbis Bay Hotel and Estate for the G7 welcome ceremony Friday, June 11, 2021 in St. Ives, Cornwall, England. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

“We are happy to announce that we will be sending over 5 million doses to South Africa as well as 4 million – 5 million doses – over 5 million doses to South Africa of Pfizer vaccines as well as 4 million doses of Moderna vaccine to Nigeria,” Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council Dana L. Banks announced at the Africa Media Hub digital press briefing on Wednesday.

“So we’re very excited about that and we hope that these will go a long way in helping to provide safety and health security for the people of Nigeria and South Africa, which will then enable them to get back to their regular activities, their economic activities, and help them to build back better,” she added.

An official at the National Security Council told Today News Africa in Washington D.C. that the vaccine shipments to Nigeria and South Africa were set for today.

Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council Dana L. Banks 
Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council Dana L. Banks

Asserting that “the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home” and that his administration is “working to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people around the world as fast as possible,” President Biden on June 10, announced at the G7 Summit that the United States will purchase and donate half a billion Pfizer vaccines to 92 low- and lower middle-income countries and the African Union, a historic action that is expected to help supercharge the global fight against the pandemic.

In total, the G7+ will provide more than 2 billion vaccines for the world, including 1 billion doses that were announced at the G7 Summit in June, of which the U.S. will contribute 500 million.

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses with the world leaders at the extended family photocall during the G7 Summit at Carbis Bay hotel in Cornwall, UK on 12th June 2021. Photo: Karwai Tang/G7 Cornwall 2021 
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses with the world leaders at the extended family photocall during the G7 Summit at Carbis Bay hotel in Cornwall, UK on 12th June 2021. Photo: Karwai Tang/G7 Cornwall 2021

In addition to support for the G7+ commitment on vaccines, the United States has also pledged that it will continue to share doses from its domestic supply as they become available.

Gayle E. Smith, U.S. State Department Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security told reporters at an online briefing on July 21 that Africa will receive “a significant portion” from the half a billion vaccine donations President Biden announced on June 10.

Gayle E. Smith, State Department Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security 
Gayle E. Smith, State Department Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security

“We’re in the process of delivering the 25 million doses, working closely with the African Union, governments, and COVAX to get these on the ground as quickly as possible,” she said. “I’m also pleased to tell you that in August, the doses that the President committed just before the G7, 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, will also start moving in August, and a significant portion of those will also be deployed to Africa.” 

  • VACCINE DOSES ALREADY SHIPPED TO AFRICAN NATIONS BY THE UNITED STATES
  • Djibouti – 151,200
  • Burkina Faso – 151,200
  • Ethiopia – 453,600
  • Senegal – 151,200
  • Zambia – 151,200
  • Niger – 151,200
  • Gambia – 151,200
  • Central African Republic – 302,400
  • Cameroon – 302,400
  • Lesotho – 302,400
  • Tanzania – 1,058,400
  • Mozambique – 302,400
  • Benin – 302,400
  • Morocco – 302,400
  • Madagascar – 302,400
  • Liberia – 302,400
  • Eswatini – 302,400
  • Senegal – 151,200
  • Burkina Faso – 150,000
  • Zambia – 151,200
  • Niger – 151,200
  • Tunisia – 1,000,000
  • Nigeria – 4,000,000
  • South Africa – 5,660,000
  • TOTALS
  • 16,404,400

Asked on July 21 about criteria for vaccine allocations to each African country, Ms. Smith said the U.S. government looks “at a number of things.”

“We look at coverage of the vaccines. We look at the vulnerabilities, i.e. what we know about the state of the pandemic in a given country. We look at what may be available elsewhere. And then we allocate accordingly,” she said.  “One of the reasons that we spread this first tranche of doses so far and wide across the continent is that coverage is universally low, so we want to start building that up as quickly as possible.”

On why the Biden administration was donating vaccines to Africa, Akunna Cook, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, explained that it is part of “the long record of U.S. cooperation with African partners in enhancing Africa’s health security, whether through PEPFAR, the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Global Health Security Agenda on Ebola, maternal and child health, and so many other areas.”

Akunna Cook 
Akunna Cook, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

“All of this is part of our commitment to Africa’s health infrastructure, an infrastructure that is helping us meet the demands of this COVID response,” Ms. Cook said.

She added that “extensive U.S. investments in sub-Saharan Africa in health, over $100 billion over the past 20 years, have saved millions of lives, but more importantly, have strengthened the resiliency of health systems.”

According to her, around two-thirds of U.S. foreign assistance to Africa remains focused on the health sector.

“Africa is a priority for this administration, and we are proud of the resiliency that African nations have demonstrated in the face of this pandemic. We remain committed to becoming – to staying a leading partner in African countries’ response to pandemics and infectious disease outbreaks,” Ms. Cook said.

Ms Cook was echoing President Biden’s assertion that “equitable global access to safe and effective vaccines is essential to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to save lives around the world, rebuild the global economy, and stop the threat of new variants, we must vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.”

Mr. Biden, who has often decried the rise of autocracy in the world, has compared the vaccine donations by the United States to the spread of democracy to help nations globally.

“The United States is using the power of our democracy, the ingenuity of American scientists, and the strength of American manufacturing to beat the pandemic globally,” he had said.

But, in the end, as President Biden himself has said, the sharing of the vaccine doses is to save lives and end the pandemic.

“We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic,” President Biden said last June.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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