Covid-19. US sends more than two million doses of vaccine to three countries

The United States is preparing to send more than two million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to Algeria, Ghana, and Yemen, the White House announced Thursday.

The shipments, which are due to arrive by the end of the week, according to a White House official, will be the first offered by the United States to the three countries.

Shipments made through the Covax system

Extracted from the surplus in US reserves, 604,800 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine will go to Algeria, 151,200 of the same vaccine will go to Yemen, while just over 1.2 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine will go to Ghana, detailed the official on condition of anonymity.

All shipments are made through the Covax system, the distributor supported by the World Health Organization and the Vaccine Alliance.

President Joe Biden, who upon coming to power made immunization of the American population a priority, has since extended his focus to the rest of the world to make the United States a « arsenal » vaccine doses.

Joe Biden has faced criticism for allowing Americans to get a third dose of the vaccine as a booster starting in September, when most poor countries struggle to acquire doses.

But according to the US authorities, there are enough reserves to keep the flow of donations abroad.

With these latest shipments, the total number of doses delivered by the United States to Africa will rise to more than 25 million, according to the White House official.

Less than 2% of Africans are said to be fully vaccinated

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Africa is at the heart of a third wave of contaminations, and is lagging behind in the race for mass vaccination.

Less than 2% of the population across the continent is fully vaccinated, with some countries having even had to destroy some unused doses due to lack of health infrastructure, but also due to strong anti-vaccine skepticism.

Ghana, which has a population of around 32 million people, was initially praised for its response to the epidemic, even using drones to deliver vaccines to the most isolated places.

Less than 3% of the population would however be fully vaccinated and the toll of 982 deaths due to Covid, reported to the WHO, would be largely underestimated due to the glaring lack of tests.

Algeria, a country close to Moscow and which had very early received doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V, also has great difficulty in vaccinating its population.

Little reliable data is available for Yemen, whose 30 million people are already afflicted by war and famine.

The White House says about 130 million doses have already been distributed to more than 90 countries by the United States.

In addition to draining its surplus reserves, the US government has also purchased 500 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech, specifically to offer them to the African Union and 92 low-income countries. Washington also donated $ 2 billion to Covax.