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African Union intends to buy 110m doses of Moderna vaccine

WASHINGTON : The African Union (AU) intends to buy up to 110 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna in an arrangement brokered in part by the White House, which will defer delivery of some doses intended for the United States to facilitate the deal, officials told Reuters.

The AU's doses will be delivered over the coming months, with 15 million arriving before the end of this year, 35 million in the first quarter of next year and up to 60 million in the second quarter.

"This is important as it allows us to increase the number of vaccines available immediately," AU coronavirus envoy Strive Masiyiwa said in an e-mail.

"We urge other vaccine-producing countries to follow the lead of the (US government) and give us similar access to buy this and other vaccines."

The new shipments of vaccine are well below what Africa needs to vaccinate its 1.3 billion people, who have had far less access to the life-saving vaccines than more prosperous parts of the world.

The Biden administration is deferring delivery of 33 million doses it had bought from Moderna to give the AU its "spot in line" to make a purchase, a White House official said.

- REUTERS

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