Biden drops AstraZeneca vaccine from latest donation

Where the cans go: Most are sent to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. Similar to the previously announced donation, about three-quarters of the doses go to COVAX, the global vaccines initiative, and the government sends the rest to specific countries.

Of those that go through COVAX, 14 million shots have gone into Latin American and Caribbean countries including Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti, as well as the Dominican Republic, Panama and Costa Rica. About 16 million will travel to Asian countries including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Maldives, Taiwan and Cambodia. Another 10 million will be shared with Africa in coordination with the African Union.

The US is sending 14 million cans to countries the White House has identified as “regional priorities,” including Colombia, Argentina, Haiti, Afghanistan, South Africa, Nigeria, the West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova and Bosnia.

The Biden administration did not say when the cans will start shipping. Of the 25 million cans announced for donation nearly three weeks ago, about 5 million have been shipped to Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan.

The administrative officer said the US is still planning to send AstraZeneca vaccines overseas once they are released.

Why it matters: The US has stepped up its vaccine exchanges with the rest of the world as many poor countries battle new waves of coronavirus, some of which were triggered by the highly contagious Delta variant first identified in India. President Joe Biden has promised that the US will be the vaccine arsenal for the world to help end the pandemic, although poorer countries have urged the US and other wealthy nations to do more in raising vaccines.

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