US donates over 500 mln COVID-19 vaccines to other countries: Blinken

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The United States has given more than 500 million coronavirus vaccines to other countries since the jabs were developed, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday in a statement obtained by AFP.

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“The United States has now shared over 500 million safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses, free of cost, to more than 110 countries and economies around the world -- for the sole purpose of saving lives,” Blinken said.

Washington aims to more than double that amount to 1.1 billion doses, as the COVID-19 pandemic persists around the globe.

Blinken also said that since COVID-19 broke out more than two years ago, the United States has provided close to $20 billion in health, humanitarian and economic assistance to more than 120 countries to address the pandemic and its impacts.

Blinken cited examples of US-backed vaccination programs in Paraguay, Zambia, Malawi and Thailand.

In one, a US-supported program in northern Thailand produced educational media and workshops in seven local languages to teach people how to protect against coronavirus, Blinken said.

“We have also invested and supported the expansion of regional COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in Africa and Asia,” he said.

“This work is critical because this pandemic is not over. Many lives are still at risk globally as countries contend with Omicron and we face the possibility of new variants.”

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